The Social Performance of an Innovative Method of Rice Fertilization in Southern Asia
Thompson P. Thomas
Rice is a crucial staple food crop, particularly in southern and southeastern Asia, providing sustenance and employment to billions of people. However, the increasing demand for rice due to population growth necessitates a substantial increase in production. To address this challenge, a novel method called deep placement of urea supergranules (UDP) has been introduced to improve fertilizer efficiency and reduce nitrogen losses. This paper explores the social performance of UDP as a fertilizer technology in Bangladesh. The study collected baseline data in 2000 and post-intervention impact data in 2002 from farmers in various districts of Bangladesh. A stratified random sample of farmers was divided into UDP users and non-users. The data analysis involved comparing these two groups to evaluate the consequences of UDP use. The findings revealed that UDP users could reduce the amount of urea applied significantly compared to non-users. Furthermore, UDP users reported increased paddy yields, particularly in Chandpur, Kishoreganj, and Jessore districts, where the increase ranged from 27.1% to 66.3%. Non-users also observed some increase in broadcast paddy yields but to a lesser extent. Additionally, the study assessed the impact of UDP on household food security and found that the additional rice production resulting from UDP significantly contributed to poverty alleviation in the sampled districts. Furthermore, UDP users demonstrated higher ownership of radios compared to non-users. These results indicate that UDP has the potential to enhance fertilizer efficiency, increase crop yields, improve household food security, and contribute to poverty alleviation in small-scale farming communities. The findings provide valuable insights for policymakers, agricultural organizations, and farmers in developing countries where rice cultivation is vital in food security and livelihoods.
Deep placement, Food security