Research Papers

Economics of energy use in agriculture

Publication Year: 1998

Author(s): Rajendra K Pachauri


The subject of the economics of energy use in agriculture has generally received very
little attention from economists in this country. This contrasts sharply with the experience
of several developed countries, particularly the US and Canada as well as countries of
Europe, where this subject has been extensively researched by economists through a substantial
amount of empirical work. Needless to say, field level studies on the economics of
energy use in the agricultural sector have to be carried out as a multi-disciplinary exercise
where economists have to work hand in hand with agricultural scientists. Perhaps, this has
not happened in India to the extent desired, so that the perception of energy use for agricultural
activities has generally remained confined to the domain of technical assessments
pursued by agricultural engineers and agricultural extension specialists. Some teams,
however, have done micro level work on this subject, and a few scattered writings in this
field have been briefly reviewed with some insights drawn from them in this paper. However,
there are a large number of issues related to energy use in agriculture that go beyond merely
the estimation of agricultural production functions that explicitly include energy inputs as
a factor of production. Some of these issues relate to a larger definition of energy use, which
would include the production and use of inputs such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Source: Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics 53 (3): 213-222

Publisher/Organisation: Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics