An economic analysis of energy use in irrigated agriculture of Punjab (Pakistan)
This study was aimed at identifying the economically optimal production patterns in the irrigated agriculture of Pakistan and their implications for the use of energy resources especially commercial energy. The problem addressed is of major importance, agriculture is the most dominant single sector in the economy, and is becoming more and more energy-intensive. The economic use of energy resources is also a top priority for the country. The requisite data were collected through a field survey of irrigated agriculture in Pakistan. A multi-stage purposive-cum-stratified random sampling procedure was employed for the selection of respondent farmers. The sample comprised farmers selected from all agro-ecological zones of irrigated Punjab. For modelling purposes, five distinct farm categories were identified, primarily based on rates of commercial energy use and kharif cropping patterns. A separate LP model based on the objective function of total gross margin maximisation was constructed, run and evaluated for each farm category. The model results were found to be close to the actual situations. The impacts of increased energy prices, and of restricted energy availability, on farm gross margin, activity mix and energy use were simulated. The highest rates of commercial energy use were found for cotton-dominated farms followed by paddy-dominated and diversified farms. Total energy used per rupee of gross margin ranged from 2.3 to 4.3 MJ. The number of dairy animals forced to be included in the solution was greater than the optimally determined number. Consequently, dairy animals made a negative contribution towards total gross margin. A 5 per cent increase in commercial energy prices or a 5 per cent reduction in energy use did not affect the LP solution considerably. However, 10 and 25 per cent increases in commercial energy prices or reductions in energy use resulted in drastic changes in total gross margin, activity mix and energy use. Increases in energy prices and reductions in energy use affected the cotton farms more than the other farm categories. Moreover, changes in the LP solutions caused by reductions in energy use were greater than those caused by increases in energy prices.