|Komol Singha* and Sneha Mishra
|Department of Economics, Sikkim University, Gangtok, India
|Corresponding Author :
Associate Professor, Department of Economics
Sikkim University, Gangtok, India
|Received:November 27, 2015; Accepted: December 18, 2015; Published:December 23, 2015
|Citation:Singha K, Mishra S (2015) Sustainability of Rice Cultivation: A Study of Manipur. J Rice Res 4:159. doi:10.4172/2375-4338.1000159
|Copyright: © 2015 Singha K, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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When many states in India are gradually moving away from their traditional agriculture-based to industry or service-oriented economy, Manipur continues to depend on agricultural sector, especially the rice crop. The crop’s yield level is found to be much higher than that of the national level, but its demand in the state is much higher that the supply having known this importance, the present paper attempts to assess sustainability of rice crop in Manipur With the help of primary data collected from 152 farmers and using PCA, the study found that 20 percent of farmer as sustainable, 64 percent as moderate and 16 as vulnerable. This implies that the rice cultivation in Manipur has not been very impressive, despite its favorable agro-climatic condition of the five dimensions included in measuring sustainability, social factor was igured out at the top, followed by the economic factor.
|Manipur; PCA; Rice cultivation; Sustainability
|Rice or paddy (Oryzasativa L) has not only been the staple food for more than half of the humanity  but also shaped the culture, diet and economy of the majority of the world’s population, especially the east and south-east Asian continents. Its production primarily depends on good agronomic practices, and the most consistent and the highest yields of the crop can be harvested in irrigated systems . Good agronomic practices include the effective fertilization, water and weed management, lower plant densities and sustainability of the farmers [3,4]. In the countries where rice is the dominant crop and staple food, the livelihood of the people depends on the crop’s availability, quality and sustainability . Consequently, sustainability of this crop has become one of the important issues in the world now. Sustainable rice farming is very important in any developing countries/region, reason being not only the staple food of the majority of the people, but also the country’s food security, poverty alleviation and rural employment depend largely on rice production [4,5]. While many states in India are gradually moving away from their traditional agriculture-based to industry or service-oriented economy, Manipur (one of the north eastern states of India covers an area of 22,327 km2. It is bounded by Nagaland to the north, Mizoram to the south, and Assam to the west; Burma lies to its east) continues to be heavily dependent on the agricultural sector. More than half (52.19 percent) of its population depend upon the agriculture sector, especially the rice cultivation. Gross Cropped Area (GCA) is 3.3 lakh hectares; it is around 12.98 per cent. Around 90 percent of GCA of the state is covered by rice and average cropping intensity is accounted at 143.26 per cent in 2011-12 . This implies that the average ratio of rice area sown is found to be 1.5 times annually. In term of rice yield level, as per the Directorate of Rice Development, Patna, Government of India, , Manipur ranked 8th in the country with 2369 kg/ha in 2006-07.
|Though rice area had slightly declined from 1.6 lakh hectares in 1995-96 to 1.4 lakh hectares in 2002-03  after 2002-03, it increased and recorded 2.2 lakh hectares in 2011-12. Despite this, demand for rice crop has increased significantly in the recent past, much higher than its supply capacity . For instances, the shortage of rice in 2009- 10 was around 116 thousand tonnes in the state. Growth of technology or improvement in yield performance did not show any respite to the ever increasing demand for it.
|Though the idea of sustainable development was conceived in the United Nation’s (UN) first conference on Human Development, held in 1972 at Stockholm, it came to be prominence through the Brundtland Commission’s report Our Common Future 1987. Thereafter, the UN has made a consciousness in the world on ecology, environment and poverty. These themes have been brought to the centre stage in the new development policies. In a broader sense,  defined sustainable development as a pattern of social and structural economic transformations which optimise the economic and other societal benefits available in the present without jeopardizing the likely potential for similar benefits in the future. Nevertheless, till today, concrete progress towards the goal of sustainable development has not been satisfactory. It is not so easy to specify and quantify true indicator of sustainable level and no specific statistical system or tool has been designed to quantify and assign weights to often conflicting indicators for operationalising the measurement and overall monitoring of the sustainability [5,9].
|While conceptualising agricultural sustainability, the Department for International Development, University of Essex, UK viewed it as the resilience (capacity of the systems to adjust in buffer shocks and stresses) and persistence, means the capacity of systems to carry on . It implies that the capacity to adjust as external and internal conditions gets changed. As of the rice farming sustainability, it may be understood as the process by which farmers manage soil, water and other basic inputs to enhance productivity and maintain it to meet farm and family needs, without adversely affecting the production environment and future resources . Before them,  had reflected on two basic characteristics of sustainability - one, it is a peoplecentred concept that aims to improve the quality of human life and conservation-based concept that is conditioned by the need to respect nature’s ability to provide resources and life-support services. In this perspective, sustainable development means improving the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems. Secondly, sustainable development is also a normative concept that embodies standard of judgement and behaviour to be respected as the human community and the society seeks to satisfy its needs of survival and well-being. It can also be interpreted in many different ways, but at its core, an approach to development that looks to balance different, and often competing, needs against an awareness of the environmental, social and economic limitations we face as a society.
|However, contemporary theories of agricultural development [4,5,13,14] broadened the basic parameters of sustainable development that had focussed more on environmental aspects, incorporated economic, social and political dimensions. In agriculture, it can also be defined as the common face of agronomic, ecologic, economic and social factors. Production is an important component for sustainability of agro-ecosystems, and improving agricultural production would result in increasing system of sustainability . Moreover, a good and sustainable rice farming model requires a clear structural framework that includes essential indicators, strategy and goal definition of dimension, and should be supported by the social, political, economic (including technical) and environmental institutions [5,16]. Nevertheless, the central question raised by  on rice research is– how to balance the need for ever-greater food production at prices that poor consumers can afford and get reasonable profit without jeopardising natural resources and the environment for generations to come. Similarly,  also opined that it links to a range of problems that farmers face and should be addressed without disturbing or disrupting the usually healthy rhythms of rural life. Therefore, a devised strategy for sustainable rice farming should be a regional/country specific and that should address each region/country’s economic, political, environmental and social conditions and objectives.
|Objectives and Methodology
|This study tries to analyse overall sustainability of rice farming in Manipur. While measuring sustainability, parameters include the resources available with the farmers, not necessarily the ecological or environmental component alone. How have the institutions–social, economic, political, technology and environment in a synergetic manner helped in making rice farming sustainable in Manipur is discussed. The specific objectives of the study are given as:
|To measure overall sustainability of rice farmers in Manipur.
|To identify institutional dimensions that impacted the most in rice farming sustainability.
|Methodologically, the present study is based on primary data. Based on agro-climatic conditions and growth pattern of rice crop, two districts (Senapati and Thoubal) of Manipur have been selected and altogether 152 rice farmers were interviewed through a wellstructured questionnaire. The primary field survey was conducted in the month of September to November 2013. To satisfy the two objectives mentioned above, the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) method was used. In the process, a combination of single indicators into a meaningful composite indicator was made under a fitness-forpurpose principle. Twenty-six indicators have been selected on the basis of their analytical soundness, measurability, relevance to the phenomenon and relationship to each other. Some proxy variables have also been used to make up data limitation. The normalized values
|Where, ei=Actual Value) of the variables were multiplied with their respective PCA scores and the summation of the entire individual variables yielded an index value. The Composite Index of an individual dimension (institution) was arrived at by adding all individual index values social, economic, political, technology and environment. While normalising index value, all the indicators have been converted in a range of 0 to 1. The larger value influences more on sustainability of rice farming. Finally, using the criterion of “Mean ± Standard Deviation” of the index value [17- 20] farmers have been categorized into three groups– sustainable, moderately sustainable and vulnerable (Table 1).
|Result and Discussion
|As of the sustainability, according to , it needs to define with respect to systems rather than doing singular analyses of inputs and outputs, because crop varieties and inputs produce nothing in isolation. The most relevant issue today is to design suitable technologies, as well as compatible strategies from the social, economic and ecological viewpoints that will bring about the necessary behavioural changes to achieve the objectives of sustainable agriculture. As  mentioned, rice sustainability is a composite effort of ecologic, economic and social factors, consequently, it can primarily be explained more by a composite index. As given in the methodology, the study categorised the paddy farmers of Manipur into three as:
|Sustainable=House-holds with an index value ≥ Mean + SD;
|Moderately Sustainable=House-holds with index value between Mean ± SD;
|Vulnerable=House-holds with index value ≤ Mean – SD
|Table 1 shows overall sustainability of rice farmers in Manipur. Using the formula of Mean± SD of the index value, of the total 152 sample, 30 rice farming households have been categorised as sustainable, 97 as moderate and 25 as vulnerable. This implies that the rice cultivation has been at the cross-road and majority of them are mainly cultivating at the subsistence level. As of the institutional impact,  endorsed that agricultural sustainability; particularly the rice farming requires technological support to social, economic, political and ecological realities. As an evidence of technological supports and modernisation, fertilizer consumption, irrigation and HYV seeds were found to have positively correlated with rice farming development [2,22,23]. Apart from the physical or economic variables,  identified the role of social institution and attitudinal environment of the society for agricultural development in Manipur. Another study in Assam by  found that institutional credit was found to be an important factor for enhancing paddy cultivation. According to  despite rice being a major staple crop, commonly grown in the NER, rice-based agriculture system has failed to provide required household income-security primarily due to weak institutional systems. They are– adherence to traditional agricultural practices, low adoption of modern rice varieties (HYVs), poorly defined of property right, small size of operational holdings, weak institutional credit facility, high vulnerability to natural calamities and over-dependence on monsoon rain with poor irrigation infrastructure (Table 2).
|Table 2 explains the impact of various institutions and their indicators on Sustainability Index construction. Of the total, the share of social institution has been very great, composed of 30.80 per cent. This was followed by the economic institution with the share of 28.75 per cent. The institutions of technology and environmental system have also impacted more on the rice farming sustainability in Manipur, accounted for 13.11 per cent and 18.31 per cent respectively. As expected, the role of political institution has been very negligible impact on rice farming sustainability, estimated at 9.03 percent of the total score. Within the social institution, caste category and continuous cultivation of the crop played a major role in the farmer’s sustainability. In the case of economic institution, net sown area and irrigation have influenced the most. Under the environment institution, amount of chemical fertiliser used has been very significant. The application of chemical fertiliser has been very influential in rice cultivation, though it affects environmentally. Within the political institution, joint effort with fellow farmers has impacted more in farmers’ sustainability in Manipur (Table 3).
|To conclude, of the total 152 sample, 30 rice farmers have been categorised as sustainable, 97 as moderate and 25 as vulnerable.
|In percentage term, it is 20 per cent, 64 per cent and 16 per cent respectively. This implies that the rice cultivation in Manipur has not been very impressive, despite its favourable agro-climatic condition. Of the different dimensions/institutions that influenced rice farming sustainability the most has been the social institution, followed by the economic institution. The institution of technology has been very negligible role on rice farming sustainability in Manipur. Nevertheless the role of environment institution on rice farming economy still occupies some significant impacts, while the role political institution` has been very negligible.
|This paper is an outcome of the major research project titled “Institutional Structure and Performance of Agriculture in Northeast India” funded by Indian Council of Social Science Research, New Delhi.
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