Environmental Efficiency Analysis of Basmati Rice Production in Punjab, Pakistan: Implications for Sustainable Agricultural Development

The intensive use of chemicals worked as a catalyst to shift the production frontier but the most critical factor of maintaining a clean environment was totally ignored. The present study attempts to estimate the environmental efficiency of rice production by employing the translog stochastic production frontier approach. The data are collected from five major Basmati rice growing districts (Gujranwala, Sheikupura, Sialkot, Hafizabad, and Jhang) of Punjab in 2006. Chemical weedicides and nitrogen are treated as environmentally detrimental inputs. The mean technical efficiency index is sufficiently high (89 percent) but the environmental efficiency index of chemical weedicides alone is 14 percent while the joint environmental efficiency index of chemical weedicides and nitrogen is 24 percent implying that joint environmental efficiency is higher than chemical weedicide alone. It indicates that substantial reduction (86 percent) in chemical weedicide use is possible with higher level of productivity. Moreover, it is likely to contribute a considerable decrease in environmental pollution which is expected to enhance the performance of agriculture labour. The reduction in chemical weedicides will save Rs 297 per acre and Rs 1307.3 million over all from the rice crop in Punjab, improving the profitability of rice growing farmers by the same proportion. Empirical analysis indicates that reduction in environmental pollution together with higher level of profitability in rice production is achievable.