Agricultural productivity gains and the commercialization of the agricultural sector may negatively impact the long-term health of the environment. For example, in northern India, mechanized harvesting of rice paddy fields has increased farmer profits, but has also created massive air quality problems since it is connected with the practice of burning crop residue to clear fields after harvest. Even when technologies exist, such as crop residue management (CRM) equipment, to mitigate harm to the environment, use of these technologies by farmers is often low. In cooperation with the Government of Punjab, this evaluation will test strategies to encourage farmers to use more environmentally-friendly alternatives to residue burning. Farmers will be randomly assigned to receive either a conditional cash transfer (CCT) dependent on a farmer not burning their fields, information on the availability of crop residue management technology (CRM), or both. The researchers will measure farmer take-up of CRM technology, as well as yields, input use, profits, and area planted. They will also measure crop burning prevalence and environmental outcomes like pollution to understand whether public interventions can help manage the tension between agricultural productivity growth and environmental impacts. Results forthcoming.
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