Economics of Producing Multiple Rabi Crops by Substituting Tobacco in Bangladesh A Case Study


UBINIG Research

Abstract

The study was undertaken to investigate the economics of producing multiple rabi crops combination (multiple cropping) by substituting tobacco in Bangladesh. Three most concentrated tobacco growing areas of Bangladesh namely Kushtia, Cox’sbazar and Bandarban districts were selected for conducting the study. The data were collected through a structured questionnaire from 36 Nayakrishi and 24 tobacco farmers during 2009-10 rabi season. The prominent rabi crops combinations (multiple cropping) practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers such as potato + maize + lentil + coriander at Kushtia, potato + french bean + felon at Cox’s bazar and Bandarban were investigated purposively. The study unveiled that about 80% higher human labour required in tobacco production and the tobacco farmers paid more than 21% higher wages per man-days compared to multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation. The tobacco farmers used excessive and imbalance doses of chemical fertilizers and they performed on an average six times to apply insecticides/pesticides in their crop fields at the study areas. The study showed that total cost (full cost) per hectare of tobacco production was more than 119% higher compared to multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers. Moreover, the Nayakrishi farmers were achieved remarkable net profit from multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation than tobacco both on full and cash cost basis respectively. They obtained more return Taka 1.42 from per Taka investment by cultivating these rabi crops combinations (multiple cropping) compared to tobacco production.

1. Introduction

Acute shortage of required food crops has been prevailing in Bangladesh since long before. About 40 per cent of the population lives below the food consumption-based poverty line, lacking sufficient resources to afford diet of 2122 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day, along with other basic necessities ( Hossain et al. 2005). Apart from the prevailing deficit in total calories intake, the normal diet of Bangladeshi people is seriously imbalanced, with inadequate consumption of protein, fat, oil and vitamin and with more than 80 per cent of calories derived from cereals. Women and children are especially vulnerable to their greater nutritional requirements.

Paper presented in the international workshop on ‘Impact of Tobacco cultivation and policy advocacy for shifting to food and other agricultural crops’ held at Nabab Nowab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, Dhaka University, Dhaka on 28-30 March 2011.

Considering the above facts, a huge amount of food crops are imported every year in exchange of our hard-earned foreign currency. Therefore, it is imperative to increase the productivity of diversified food crops. Due to decrease of arable land (1%) every year, horizontal expansion of crop production is not possible. To increase the productivity different possible techniques have to be followed of which most important technique is the multiple cropping. Multiple cropping systems can contribute to the beneficiaries as risk aversion against sole cropping systems and increase agricultural production. In multiple cropping, two or more crops are grown in the same field during the same year either simultaneously (intercropping) or in sequence (sequential cropping). The philosophy of multiple cropping is maximizing crop production per unit areas of land with minimum soil deterioration.

In recent years, multiple cropping has been gaining importance as a system of more crop production in limited land area particularly in the countries with small farm holdings like Bangladesh, India, China, Taiwan, Srilanka, Malaysia, Hongkong, Vietnum, Africa and Latin America (Beet, 1977). By the practice of multiple cropping, people can improve their socio-economic condition by attaining substantially by the maximum use of resources available to farmers (Day and Singh, 1981). Research studies have been shown that small land holders especially with limited land holder farmers can be benefited to optimize production from small plot through multiple cropping and thus help farmers to cope with land shortage. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of multiple cropping to producers is that these systems can boost to yields and increase profits resulting in a balanced diet for the farm family (Cramer, C. and Cicero, K.1992).

Multiple cropping is also practiced to obtain diversified types of crops, to increase the soil fertility and to sustain the farm profit (Mengping and Zhangjinsong, 2004). Due to the continuous population pressure, the increase in food production, especially, cereals have been given priority in Bangladesh. But due to the continuous production of cereals, the productivity of land is reduced due to nutrient mining. Legumes fix nitrogen from atmosphere and their seeds are also used as food by both human and livestock. So, incorporation of legumes into cereals has been tried to achieve increased food both for human and livestock and also for improved soil fertility (Nargis et at., 2004).

The objective of Nayakrishi is to extend bio-diversity based ecological agriculture among the farmers in Bangladesh. The Nayakrishi farmers of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) will make best use of the local and traditional knowledge. They will grow crops with farm saved seeds. They will also abandon the use of pesticides/insecticides and gradually reduce the use of chemical fertilizer. The chemical fertilizer will be replaced by the use of compost and cow dung. Ultimately the environment will be better maintained including soil and water. The Nayakrishi farmers are cultivating different rabi crops either mixed or inter or relay crop combinations in their fields as a substitute of tobacco.

Tobacco is a cash crop and its cultivation is mostly concentrated in the districts of Rangpur, Dinajpur, Kushtia, Jhenaidah, Chuadanga and Meherpur. Recently production areas have been shifting from these areas to the Chittagong Hill Tracts areas mainly Cox’sbazar and Bandarban district. Though the tobacco growers claimed that tobacco production generated steady cash income at a time. But the opportunity cost of tobacco production for any society is very high. Different profitable high food value rabi crops such as potato, maize, wheat, pulses, oilseeds, beans, spices and vegetable have to foregone on the land where tobacco is grown. Moreover, tobacco consumption leads to various fatal diseases for which huge amount of money has to be incurred for treatment of the consumers. The present study is a modest attempt to investigate the comparative profitability between rabi crops combinations (multiple cropping) and tobacco cultivation at farm level. Given this context the study has been conceived with the following objectives:

2. Methodology

The study was conducted by using purposive sampling at all strata to get easy access to farmers of UBINIG (Policy Research for Development Alternative) and BATB (British American Tobacco, Bangladesh). Three most important tobacco growing zones of Bangladesh, Kushtia, Cox’sbazar and Bandarban were selected for the purpose of this study. Mirpur and Daulatpur upazilas under Kushtia district, Chakoria upazila under Cox’sbazar district and Lama upazila under Bandarban district were selected purposively for carrying out the study. For the selection of tobacco farmers, a total of 24 samples were taken from three study areas. On the other hand a total of 36 Nayakrishi farmers (small farmers) under UBINIG were taken from the same areas. Three rabi crop-combinations (multiple cropping) practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers were selected such as potato+maize+lentil at Kushtia, potato+ french bean+felon at Cox’sbazar and potato+french bean at Bandarban areas. In both cases purposive sampling technique was used to draw samples of this study. Data were collected by a pre-tested questionnaire through field survey. Data about tobacco and rabi crops (combination) cultivation were collected by the UBINIG research team from the respective study areas during 2009-10 rabi season. The collected data were summarized, tabulated and analyzed according to the objectives of the study. The tabular method was followed in analyzing the collected information.

3. Results and Discussion

Economics of Multiple Rabi Crops (Combination) Cultivation at Different Locations

Table 1 shows that the cost and return per hectare of rabi crops combination practiced by the skilled Nayakrishi farmers at different study areas, The average human labour cost per hectare was observed the highest (Tk.30,831) at Kushtia in potato +maize+lentil+coriander crops combination compared to potato+french bean+felon at Cox’sbazar (Tk. 27,750) and Bandarban (Tk. 26,550). It revealed from the table that except human labour and seed cost per hectare, all variable cost items like land preparation, manure and irrigation cost was found the highest in potato+ french bean + felon crops combination at Cox’sbazar and Bandarban than in potato + maize + lentil + coriander at Kushtia. The observed variation was mainly because of higher wages and prices of different inputs used by the Nayakrishi farmers at the study areas. The highest average total cost (Full cost) per hectare was amount to Tk. 1, 03, 688 in the combination of potato + maize + lentil + coriander at Kushtia followed by Tk. 1, 01, 142 and Tk. 99,073 in potato + french bean + felon combination at Cox’sbazar and Bandarban respectively. Table shows that the highest per hectare average yield of potato (main crop) was 15728 kg compared to Cox’sbazar (13457 kg) and Bandarban (13560 kg) areas. The observed variation in yield among the locations might be due to the location effect and variation in rabi crops combination practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers. Average price of potato was reported as Tk. 14.50/kg and the Nayakrishi farmers at Cox’sbazar and Bandarban got the highest price of potato (Tk. 18.00/kg) than Kushtia.

In the study areas per hectare average gross return was observed Tk. 2, 50,457 and found the highest in potato + french bean + felon crops combination at Bandarban (Tk. 2,88,271/hectare) and the lowest in potato + maize + lentil + coriander at Kushtia (Tk. 2,16,927). Both on full and cash cost basis, per hectare net profit was higher at Bandarban (Tk. 1, 87, 129 and Tk. 2,48,245 respectively) compared to other two locations. In other words, the Nayakrishi farmers at Cox’sbazar and Bandarban were achieved higher net profit per hectare from potato + french bean + felon crops combination than the farmers at Kushtia from potato + maize + lentil + coriander combination. Average return per taka investment was estimated as 2.47 on full cost basis and 5.40 on cash cost basis and indicated the cultivation of rabi crops as a profitable crops combination under the present farming systems practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers at the study areas.

Economics of Tobacco Production at Different Locations

Cost and return per hectare of tobacco production at different intensive tobacco growing areas is presented in Table 2. It revealed that the highest per hectare human labour cost was observed at Bandarban (Tk. 79,459) and the lowest at Kushtia (Tk. 42, 924) which is about 33% and 24% of the total cost of tobacco production respectively. The observed variation was mainly because of the variation in wage rate and labour use in the study areas. Among the three locations, average human labour cost was estimated to Tk. 65, 974/hectare which is about 30% of the total cost (Tk. 2, 21, 965/hectare). The second highest cost item was processing of tobacco leaves which was observed the highest at Cox’sbazar (Tk. 48, 066/hectare) and the lowest at Kushtia (Tk. 40, 172/hectare). Another remarkable cost item was chemical fertilizer application which is about 19% (Tk. 41, 166/hectare) of the total cost of tobacco production. Average per hectare rental value of land for tobacco cultivation was estimated the highest at Bandarban (Tk. 36, 021) and the lowest at Kushtia (Tk. 25, 319).

It reveals from the table that the total cost per hectare of tobacco was estimated to Tk. 2,21,965 and the highest at Cox’sbazar (Tk. 2,47,871) and the lowest at Kushtia (Tk.1,79,023). On an average, per hectare cash cost was observed the highest at Bandarban (Tk. 1,87,984) which is about 79% of the total cost of tobacco production. Though, the lowest total cash cost was observed Tk. 1,34,860 per hectare at Kushtia but it is estimated at 75% of the total cost of tobacco production.

Table also shows that average per hectare yield of tobacco leaves was observed the highest 2220 kg at Cox’sbazar whereas the price of tobacco leaves was found the highest Tk. 125/kg at Bandarban. Average per hectare net profit and return per Taka investment on full cost basis was estimated as Tk. 12, 389 and 1.05 respectively. From the above findings it can be concluded that the tobacco farmers of the study areas obtained less profit from more cash investment.

Comparative Input Use between Multiple Cropping and Tobacco Production

Level of input use and comparison between multiple rabi crops (combination) and tobacco cultivation at farm level is presented in Table 3. The table represents the average results of the previous tables of different rabi crops (combinations) and tobacco production at different locations. It reveals from the table that average human labour per hectare for multiple cropping was estimated as 231 man-days. On the other hand, for tobacco production it was observed as 415 man-day per hectare which is 88% higher compared to rabi crop (combination) cultivation. So, it can be concluded that tobacco is more labour intensive production system than multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation. Average human labour wage rate was estimated to Tk. 140 per man-day for multiple cropping whereas it was about 21% higher (Tk. 169 man-day) in case of tobacco production. The observed variation in wage rate was mainly due to the continuous hard work was done by the tobacco farmers at the study areas. It is found from the study that the Nayakrishi farmers did not use any chemical fertilizer and insecticides/pesticides for cultivation of different rabi crops combinations. They used more manures (8641 kg/hectare) in their crop fields than tobacco farmers (2427 kg/hectare). It is seen from the table that the Nayakrishi farmers used about 89% own sourced manure of the total to increase the fertility of the crop fields. On the other hand, the tobacco farmers performed an average six times to apply insecticides/pesticides in their crop fields. Besides, the tobacco fields need more irrigation water compared to multiple rabi crops (combination) fields at the study areas. But in case of multiple cropping, incidence of pest and diseases were reportedly absent in the study areas and the Nayakrishi farmers were not found to apply insecticides and pesticides.

The study also found that the tobacco farmers irrespective of locations did not follow the recommended does of chemical fertilizers. They used excessive and imbalance doses of Urea (575 kg/ha), TSP (366 kg/ha), MoP (35 kg/ha), SoP (235 kg/ha) DAP (44 kg/ha) and Znso4 (57 kg/ha) to their crop fields. On an average total cost per hectare of multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation was amounted to Tk. 1, 01, 301 and tobacco incurred about 119% higher cost (Tk. 2, 21, 965/hectare) compared to multiple cropping. Besides, the study also found that for cultivation of multiple rabi crops (combination) required about 71% less cash expenses than tobacco production (Table-3). Table also shows that more than 7% higher gross return per hectare was achieved from multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation than tobacco production. Average net profit per hectare of multiple rabi crops (combination) cultivation both on full and cash cost basis was estimated higher compared to tobacco production. The result shows that the Nayakrishi farmers obtained higher return Tk. 1.42 from per Taka investment by cultivating multiple rabi crops (combination) than tobacco production. On the basis of the above findings it can be concluded here that the rabi crops cultivation under multiple cropping at the study areas was more profitable compared to tobacco production.

4. Conclusion and Recommendations

From the findings of the study it can be concluded here that profitability of different combinations of rabi crops (multiple cropping) practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers of UBINIG are still attractive and any other farmers of the study areas can easily earn more profit with less cash investment from these types of rabi crops (combinations) by substituting tobacco in Bangladesh. However, the following recommendations are made by the study:

  • More concentration should be given for strengthening of the linkage between the researchers of UBINIG and the DAE (Department of Agricultural Extension) due to accelerate the dissemination of new evolved technologies of UBINIG (multiple cropping practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers) to the intensive tobacco growing areas of Bangladesh.
  • Now-a-days, the market price of high food value rabi crops such as pulses, beans, peas and spices are very high. So, more crop combinations (multiple cropping) including those types of rabi crops should be developed and trialed by the UBINIG research team at the intensive tobacco growing areas of Bangladesh.
  • Not only rabi crops combination but also food crops based cropping pattern round the year should be agro-economically evaluated against tobacco based cropping pattern at the farmers field.
  • Training programme on comparative economic profitability between multiple cropping and tobacco production should be organized by UBINIG authority for the tobacco farmers in collaboration with the DAE so that they (tobacco farmers) can easily realize the actual benefits/profits are achieved by the Nayakrishi farmers at the study areas.
  • Continuous mono-cropping of cereal crops is causing deterioration of soil fertility and quality. There are greater opportunities to break the cereal mono-cropping and to increase income per unit of land by cultivating those rabi crops (combinations) practiced by the Nayakrishi farmers under the crop diversification programme. Because, crop diversification provides continuous income and variety of food items for family consumption.

References

1. Beet, W.C. (1977). Multiple cropping of maize and soybean under high levels of crop management. Netherland J. Agric. Sci. 25(2): 95-102.

2. Cramer, C. and K. Cicero, (1992). 2 crops for the price of 1. The New Farm 14(2): 14-17.

3. Hossain, M., F. Naher and Q. Shahabuddin. (2005). Food security and nutrition in Bangladesh: progress and determinants. E-Journal of Agricultural and Development Economics, Vol. 2(2): 103-132 (www.fao.org/es/esa/eJADE).

4. Mengping, P. and Zhangjinsong, S. (2004). Effects of wheat base intercropping on water and land utilization efficiency. Research Institute of Forestry. Forest Research, Beijing, China. 17(2): 167-171.

5. Nargis, A., Alim, M. A., Islam, M.M, Zabun, N., Maksuder, R. and Hossain, A.S.M.I. (2004). Evaluation of mixed cropping and intercropping of lentil and wheat. J. Agron. 3(1): 48-51.

Acknowledgement

The Author acknowledges the cordial cooperation from Mr. Golam Rabbi Badal, Dr. M.A. Sobhan, Jahangir Alam Jony and UBINIG research team (Mr. Rafiqul Haque Tito, Mujahidul Islam Prince, Mahmuda Begum, Abdur Rouf, Rowshon Akter, Mahbub Alam, Aminul Islam and Anil Barua) of respective areas to carry out the study smoothly. Special thanks deserve to UBINIG authority to invite to me to present the paper in the international workshop.

Table 1. Cost and return per hectare of multiple rabi crops cultivation at different locations

Items Cost (Taka / hectare)
Kushtia Cox’sbazar Bandarban Average
Potato+maize+ lentil+coriander
Potato+french bean+felon Potato+french bean+felon

Human labour:

Family

Hired

Total :

15,222

15,649

30,831

15,750

12,000

27,750

17,850

8,700

26,550







28,377

Land preparation:

Owned

Purchased

Total :

-

3,255

3,255

2,733

3,549

6,282

 

4,281

1,997

6,278

 







5,272

Seed:

Owned

Purchased

Total :

1,938

38,182

40,120

1,157

24,095

25,252

1,174

25,603

26,770






30,714

Manure:

Owned

Purchased

Total :

4,283

-

4,283

4,672

1,546

6,218

6,168

189

6,357






5,619

Irrigation:

Owned

Purchased

Total :

-

2,659

2,659

-

4,081

4,081

1,009

3,025

4,034






3,591
Others (if any) 651 301 512 488
Interest on working capital (@ 7%) 1,057 798 701 852
Rental value of land: (for crop season only) 21,188 28,391 29,933 26,504
Total Cost (TC): 1,03,688 99,073 1,01,142 1,01,301
Total Cash Cost (TCC): 60,396 45,572 40,026 48,665
Yield of Crops (kg/ha): 15728+2845+116+81 13457+567+303 13560+616+328 -
Price of Crops (Tk/kg): 11.0+11.7+72.5+67.0 18.0+45.0+45.0 18.0+43.0+42.5 -

Gross Return(Tk/ha):

Value of Crops

Value of by-products

Total :

2,09,767

7,160

2,16,927

2,42,226

3,946

2,46,172

2,84,508

3,763

2,88,271








2,50,457

Net Profit (Tk/ha):

Full cost basis

Cash cost basis

1,13,239

1,56,531

1,47,099

2,00,600

1,87,129

2,48,245

1,49,156

2,01,792

Return per Taka Investment:

Full cost basis

Cash cost basis

2.09

3.59

2.48

5.40

2.85

7.20

2.47

5.40

 

Table 2. Cost and return per hectare of tobacco production at different locations

Items Cost (Taka / hectare)
Kushtia Cox’sbazar Bandarban Average

Human labour:

Family

Hired

Total :

12,118

30,806

42,924

21,659

53,879

75,538

6,516

72,943

79,459






65,974

Land preparation:

Owned

Purchased

Total :

-

3,790

3,790

-

6,108

6,108

-

6,220

6,220

 

 

 

5,373

Seed/seedlings:

Owned

Purchased

Total:

-

1,890

1,890

-

2,161

2,161

-

2,657

2,657






2,236
Fertilizers: 42,228 44,344 36,927 41,166
Insecticides / pesticides: 4,854 12,142 10,146

9,047

Irrigation: 4,564 9,645 9,417 7,875

Manure:

Owned

Purchased

Total :

117

1,297

1,414

415

712

1,127

803

-

803






1,115

Drying/Curing

Owned

Purchased

Total :

1,102

39,070

40,172

2,121

45,945

48,066

-

42,596

42,596

 

 

 

43,611

Others (transportation, stick, rope, medicine, etc.) 6,361 8,818 7,078 7,419
Interest on working capital (@ 7 %) 5,507 7,503 7,676 6,895
Rental value of land: (for crop season only) 25,319 32,419 36,021 31,253
Total Cost (TC): 1,79,023 2,47,871 2,39,000 2,21,965
Total Cash Cost (TCC): 1,34,860 1,83,754 1,87,984 1,68,866
Yield of Crops (kg/ha): 1775 2220 1898 1964
Price of Crops (Tk/kg): 102.00 120.00 125.00 116.00

Gross Return (Tk/ha.):

Value of Crops

Value of by-products

Total :

1,81,050

3,445

1,84,495

2,66,400

6,989

2,73,389

2,37,250

7,927

2,45,177






2,34,354

Net Profit (Tk/ha):

Full cost basis

Cash cost basis

5,472

49,635

25,518

89,635

6,177

57,193

12,389

65,488

Return per Taka Investment:

Full cost basis

Cash cost basis

1.03

1.37

1.10

1.49

1.03

1.30

1.05

1.39

 

Table 3. Level of input use and comparison between multiple cropping and tobacco

production at farm level

Items Multiple cropping

Tobacco production

Remarks

Human labour (No.):

Family

Hired

Total :

114

117

231

110

305

415
About 88% higher human labour required in tobacco production compared to multiple cropping.

Fertilizers ( kg/ ha):

Urea-

TSP-

MoP-

SoP-

DAP-

ZnSo4 -

Nil

575

366

35

235

44

57

 

Tobacco farmers used excessive and imbalance doses of chemical fertilizers in their crop fields. But the Nayakrishi farmers did not use any chemical fertilizers to their rabi crops fields.

Insecticides/Pesticides (No) Nil 6 Tobacco farmers performed an average six times to apply insecticides/pesticides to their crop fields whereas the Nayakrishi farmers did not apply any insecticides/pesticides to their rabi crops fields.
Irrigation (No.): 3
5 More irrigation water (on an average five times) required in case of tobacco production than multiple cropping.

Manures (kg/ha):

Owned

Purchased

Total :

 

7594

1047

8641

 

970

1457

2427
The Nayakrishi farmers used more manures than tobacco production and they used about 89% manures from their owned sources.
Rental value of land: (for crop season only) 26,504 31,253 Rental value of land for tobacco production was found more than 18% higher compared to multiple cropping.
Total Cost (Tk./ha): 1,01,301 2,21,965 Tobacco incurred more than 119% higher costs per hectare than multiple cropping.
Total Cash Cost (Tk./ha): 48,665 1,68,866 Multiple cropping required 71% less cash expenses than tobacco production and proved that tobacco is highly cash cost intensive crop.
Gross Return(Tk/ha): 2,50,457 2,34,354 More than 7% higher return achieved from multiple cropping than tobacco production.

Net Profit (Tk/ha):

Full cost basis

Cash cost basis

1,49,156

2,01,792

12,389

65,488
The Nayakrishi farmers at the study areas obtained remarkable net profit from multiple cropping compared to tobacco production both on full and cash cost basis.

Return per Taka Investment:

Full cost basis

Cash cost basis

2.47

5.40

1.05

1.39

The Nayakrishi farmers got more return Taka 1.42 from per Taka investment by cultivating multiple rabi crops (combinations) compared to tobacco production.

 

 


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