Village-based forage seed enterprises: A sustainable intervention for rural development in the mixed farming systems of Pakistan

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Abstract

This paper describes the on-farm profitability and sustainability implications of smallholder dairy
farmers in Pakistan from an innovative informal strategy of developing village-based forage seed
enterprises (VBFSEs) for berseem clover (Trifolium alexandrinum). The evaluation of agricultural
innovations and their impact on whole farm profitability is often very difficult to relate to economic
parameters. The agricultural interventions implemented in this study resulted in enhanced crop
yields, but the farmers involved did not consider these gains fulfilled their economic rationale. The
impact of growing improved varieties of berseem clover using research based technology and
developing VBFSEs was validated through on-farm participatory research in the districts of Kasur and
Okara, Punjab, Pakistan. The intervention was evaluated on the basis of net income and benefit:cost
ratio to the farmers on their investment. The statistical analysis indicated that average net incomes
of 512,340 Rs/ha (5,240 US$/ha) was achievable through establishing VBFSE for berseem clover
when grown for both green fodder and seed production. The maximum green forage (50.58 t/ha)
and seed yields (946 kg/ha) of berseem clover were produced by using improved seed and
contemporary agronomic practices compared to 31.76 t/ha and 192 kg/ha, respectively with
traditional methods of growing berseem clover. The average net income generated through
berseem VBFSEs is eight times greater than for wheat (34,022 Rs/ha), six times more than for oats
(45,541), five times more than for canola (56,083), four times more than for conventional berseem
clover (67,723), and two times more than the net income from a potato crop (142,737) growing in
the region. Thus berseem clover VBFSEs are more profitable than any other cash crop grown in the
area, having a benefit to cost ratio of 5.32:1. They are therefore an economically viable agricultural
option for smallholder farmers.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberPaper 2
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
JournalAustralasian Agribusiness Review
Volume26
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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