Impact of policies favouring organic inputs on small farms in Karnataka, India: a multicriteria approach

Purushothaman , S. and Patil, S. and Francis, I. (2012) Impact of policies favouring organic inputs on small farms in Karnataka, India: a multicriteria approach. Environment, Development and Sustainability , 14 (4). pp. 507-527.

[img] PDF
Restricted to ICRISAT researchers only


Over 56% of the population of Karnataka state in India depends on agriculture for its livelihood. A majority of these are small and marginal farmers, with land under 2 ha, responsible for nearly half the food production in the state. The increasing rate of farmers’ suicides in the state is reportedly fuelled among others, by increasing input costs, crop failure and accumulating debt. This triggered several policy measures, intended to improve the sustainability of farm livelihoods including those promoting organic practices in farming. The paper presents the results of a multicriteria analysis conducted to comprehend the effects of two different practice–policy scenarios on smallholders in Karnataka—one scenario ‘with policy’ (WP) to support organic agricultural practices and the other a ‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario that continues to stress on market-based, synthetic inputs for cultivation. The paper integrates results from quantitative and participatory techniques to compare and project effects on ecological, economic and socio-cultural indicators. Ecological and economic indicators in WP are projected to be significantly higher than BAU in a majority of the study sites, while socio-cultural indicators show mixed outcomes, depending on regional and social characteristics. Across the study sites, small and rain-fed farms are benefitted better in WP compared to large and irrigated farms, respectively. Among small and rain-fed farms, soil fertility, water quality, agro-diversity, net income and freedom from indebtedness improve considerably, while there is slight reduction in collective activities and no perceivable change in land-based subsistence

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multicriteria analysis; Organic practices; Policy evaluation; Agrarian distress; Farmer suicide; Smallholder
Author Affiliation: Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur Post, Bangalore 560064, India
Subjects: Social Sciences > Agricultural Economics
Divisions: Other Crops
Depositing User: Ms K Syamalamba
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2012 03:39
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2012 03:40
Official URL:

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item