Improving water productivity to enhance agriculture and farming livelihood: Socioeconomic analysis of LBCD irrigation system in Pakistan

Richard Culas, Muhammad Ali Imran, Muhammad Ashfaq, Asghar Ali, Irfan A. Baig

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The agricultural sector in Pakistan was given a monumental boost after the advent of the Green Revolution as it led to the introduction of improved crop varieties, provision of irrigation water and extensive use of fertilizers and chemicals. Presently, Pakistan is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change and subject to increasing levels of water scarcity which can adversely impact the agricultural productivity and food security. Given the vitally monumental role of agriculture in Pakistan, it is imperative to gauge the threats being faced by this sector and consequently devise efficacious strategies to mitigate the challenges. In particular, the challenges in the efficient use of water resources in agriculture through innovative, water-saving and climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices. In this regard, a socioeconomic farm household survey was conducted in the Lower Barry Canal Distributary (LBCD) Irrigation System in Pakistan during 2017-2018 cropping seasons as part of an ACIAR funded ground water management project. The major crops produced in the study area are wheat, maize, rice, cotton and sugarcane. The results of the analysis of data from 469 farm households indicate that around 25% of the farmers use groundwater while around 60% of them use both surface and groundwater (conjunctive use), indicating the significant role groundwater plays in their crop production. The average area irrigated by flood irrigation ranges 6-10 ha while under furrow irrigation it is 0.6-1.2 ha. The crop performances, as measured by BCRs, range from 1.3 to 2.3. However, the estimates of water productivity are relatively very low in the study area, ranging between 0.22 and 5.27 kg/m3. The estimates for the water use efficiency in the study area indicate that the farmers are efficient between 55 and 63% in the use of available water for irrigating the crops. The above findings indicate that there is a need for more water saving approaches in crop production. Such approaches can be for example shifting flood irrigation to furrow irrigation, use of more water-saving crops, change of practices to reduce the impact of salinity on crop yield, and implementation of water policies to facilitate regulation of ground water use, improve water pricing mechanisms and address inequality in access to water.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019
Event2nd International Conference: Climate Smart Agriculture - MNS-University of Agriculture, Multan, Pakistan
Duration: 26 Nov 201927 Nov 2019


Conference2nd International Conference: Climate Smart Agriculture
Internet address

Grant Number

  • 0000101862


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