Late transplanting of paddy is common in the rice-wheat cropping systems of Bihar and its neighboring regions. The delay in paddy transplantation further leads to late sowing of wheat, exposing it to high temperatures during the crucial grain-filling stage resulting in low system productivity. This study will assess factors that influence farmers’ decision-making around the timing of transplanting and harvesting paddy in Bihar. The study will help identify agro-economic and behavioral reasons for the late transplanting and harvesting of rice. For this, a mixed methods primary survey of farmers is being carried out by IFPRI covering most agro-ecologies of Bihar, where the problem is widespread.
Field activities and interaction with stakeholders
Focus group discussions (FGDs) and in-depth interviews (IDIs) with experienced/progressive farmers were conducted in the Bhojpur district in December 2021 to draw the contours of this study. Based on the learnings from the FGDs and IDIs, IFPRI launched a quantitative survey in March 2022. The survey covers questions related to basic demographic indicators, crop details for the last two seasons of Rabi 2021-22 and Kharif 2021, and extensive details about the timeline for various operations and inputs used on the common rice-wheat plots cultivated by the farmers. Additionally, a best-worst scaling experiment is being conducted to assess the ranking of various factors of production in terms of their relative importance for timely wheat sowing.
The quantitative survey covers a sample of 2000 farmers who grew rice and wheat and has a common plot on which they had grown paddy in Kharif 2021 and wheat in Rabi 2021-22. The farmers are spread across ten districts and 100 villages and cover all major agro-climatic zones of Bihar. Moreover, around 100 qualitative interviews will be conducted with farm experts and/or village functionaries to obtain information related to village-level attributes of rice-wheat crop cultivation.
The primary data collection for this study is being done in collaboration with QnQ Consulting Private Limited and is likely to be completed by May 2022.
The survey will highlight the major bottlenecks concerning timely rice-wheat operations based on which appropriate policy recommendations can be made. More importantly, it will help in the identification of region-specific issues which hamper timely operations and thereby help in taking necessary action for promoting timely field operations. Also, this survey will serve as the baseline for our future policy-relevant interventions in the region.
Contributors: Prapti Barooah and Shweta Gupta