UDP Technology and Rice Yields Among Farmer Beneficiaries of Rainfed Lowland Project Areas in Myanmar

Since its inception in 2014, the Fertilizer Sector Improvement (FSI) project in Myanmar has introduced urea deep placement (UDP) fertilizer technology, aimed at improving yields and fertilizer use efficiency among rice farmers in its project intervention areas. For this purpose, selected farmers from three major rice-growing regions of Myanmar, located in Yangon, Bago, and Ayeyarwady were given training through effective farm demonstrations and other extension services to promote the use of technology along with other improved inputs. Extensive data were collected among project beneficiaries to determine the effect of UDP technology on yields in comparison to the traditional use of fertilization methods. In this paper, we have made an attempt to use part of the data documented to estimate the factors responsible for variability in productivity levels of rice with the adoption of UDP technology under rainfed conditions during the 2016 wet season. A log linear regression model was employed for empirical estimation to determine the effect of UDP along with other external factors that jointly influence the rice yields in the intervention areas. Our analytical results indicate a significant and positive impact of UDP technology use on rice yields; improved crop intensification practices adopted by farmers also played a crucial role in improving the rice yields. In addition to these factors, male farmers were very successful in adopting the technology and in realizing higher yields in their plots compared to their female counterparts. Other variables, such as area allocated for rice, resulted in yield reduction, implying lack of purchasing power among farmers for additional input use. Along with low credit access, this results in underuse of external inputs. From a policy perspective, these results have wider implications. For instance, limited opportunities exist for crop land expansion in the intervention areas; thus, any increase in yields should come from the effective and efficient use of agro-input technologies, such as high-yielding varieties (HYVs), UDP, and other crop management techniques. The evidence from our empirical analysis further suggests increased and focused government efforts are needed toward promoting the use of efficient soil and fertilizer management technologies, such as UDP, and promoting crop intensification practices among farmers in the lowland rainfed rice cropping system in Myanmar to achieve higher yields and profits from limited expansion of cropping land. The gross margin results also indicate the likely and positive effect of increased access to technologies and participation by women farmers in extension programs for greater benefits to society as a whole.
Farmers, Technology