Energy productivity and efficiency of the ‘gher’ (prawn-fish-rice) farming system in Bangladesh
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'Gher' farming is a unique system that incorporates the joint operation of three enterprises: freshwater prawn, fish and HYV rice, and is expanding rapidly in the coastal regions of Bangladesh because of its proven high income earning potential. In this paper, the sustainability of this system is evaluated by analysing its performance in terms of energy use by applying a stochastic distance function approach which revealed interesting and unexpected results. The prawn enterprise which is the key income earning component is found to be technically inefficient while the rice enterprise is found to be efficient. The net energy balance and the energy use efficiency of the 'gher' farming system is estimated at 18,510 MJ ha-1 and 1.72 respectively. The 'gher' farmers are operating at a very high level of technical (energy) efficiency (92%). Diversification amongst enterprises is associated with technical (energy) inefficiency. However, larger operation size enhances efficiency. The key policy implication is that the 'gher' farming system can be sustained in the long run provided that productivity from the rice enterprise remains high. Also, policies to support the expansion of 'gher' farm sizes will improve efficiency. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
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