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Changing Farmers' Behavior for Sustainable Water Use - Policy Proposal Based on WTP Survey In Turkey

Congress: 2015
Author(s): Hironori Hamasaki (Nagasaki), Ufuk Gultekin

Cukurova University1



Keyword(s): Special session 8: Agricultural research,
Abstract

1. Introduction This study clarifies causal relationship of between behavioral patterns and recognition farmers in a semi-arid region, Southern Turkey, have. Adana, which is located in the southwestern Turkey along the Mediterranean Sea, faces the future concerns about water shortage. Since this city is in a semi-arid region and it is projected that the available amount of water will decrease by around 20 percent in the future, most of farmers in Adana heighten their sense of crisis about drought. In this context, we hypothesized they should have high consciousness about water consumption, and thus their behavioral pattern of water usage should be environmentally sound. But the fact was different. Adana has been developing economically through the national agricultural program, that is, Lower Seyhan Irrigation Project (LSIP). During the 1950's, the Seyhan Dam was constructed on the Seyhan River, which runs through the City of Adana and the Lower Seyhan Plain (LSP). Because this Plain is one of the most fertile areas, but semi-arid, Turkish government chose this region for the irrigated agriculture (W. Scheumann, 1997: 79-81). LSIP comprises 175,000 ha and the capacity of Seyhan Dam Reservoir is 1.2 billion m3 (C. Umetsu, et al, 2005). Mainly because of financial crisis in 1990's, the Turkish government decentralized the irrigation management. In detail, this means farmers themselves have been managing irrigation system, such as operation and management (O&M), collecting water fee and so on, since the Turkish government transferred its authority to Water Users Association (WUAs). However, some WUAs have difficulties in collecting water fee and maintaining irrigation facilities. This also makes farmers unsatisfied with the management by WUAs and causes several environmental problems, such as water loss, salinization, and so on. As a result, in March, 2011, central government decided to adopt the New Water Law, which doubles water fee and forces WUAs to use 40% of collected fee for O&M and 20% for personnel. It can be said that the irrigation governance in this district is likely to move back to top-down approach by the national government. These changes occurred to us that we should question the behavior of individual farmers. In fact, through our preliminary interview with individual farmers, some showed they indeed understand they should save water, chemical fertilizer and pesticide for conserving environment, but they don't want to do them because they are concerned about the decrease in their crop yield. Moreover, they complained about the rise of water fee and insisted in the needs of technological development to decrease water consumption, instead of their own effort for saving water. Taking these facts into consideration, this study aims at clarifying the gap between the behavioral pattern and the consciousness of individual famers about water use by asking them willingness to pay (WTP). First, this paper summarizes the transition of the development of irrigated agriculture in LSP and our methodology of WTP. Second, this article demonstrates the result of our questionnaire survey about the behavioral pattern and WTP of individual farmers in relation to water use. Finally, we conclude this paper by proposing comprehensive policy which integrates technological development, capacity building and water pricing. 2. Methods and Materials In this study, we conducted questionnaire survey about behavioral pattern and WTP of individual farmers. We selected three of 18 WUAs in LSP, Toroslar (not good example), Akarsu (good example) and Gazi (best example), based on local characteristics and collection ratio of water fee. We collected 90 samples in total, that is, 30 samples in each WUA. In relation to individual farmers' behavior, we asked questions as follows; Attribution: age, sex, family structure, education level Agricultural situation: land size, rented or owned, crop pattern, subsidy Behavior: duration of irrigation, water fee, amount of fertilizer and pesticide Regarding WTP, we chose Multi-bounded Discrete Choice (MBDC). This methodology is one of Contingent Valuation Method (CVM) to value environmental policies or damages as a price. MBDC is based on the idea that "individual WTP depends not on the particular price but certain distribution" (Wang & He, 2011). According to his idea of MBDC, we prepared the questionnaire sheet as shown in Table 2 and asked the question "Please imagine better, improved facilities and management by WUA, and answer how much you're willing to pay in compensation for that". 3. Results and Discussion As a result of our questionnaire survey, we find out WTP of individual farmers is relatively low (Table 3). In terms of behavioral pattern, we also figured out that, though almost all the farmers answered it is important to save water, they usually consume more water, fertilizer and pesticide than they are instructed by WUAs, since they are concerned about the decrease in their crop yield. Finally, we analyzed there is a big gap between the behavioral pattern and the mind of individual farmers about water use. In relation to their behavioral pattern, through the questionnaire, about half of respondents graduated from only primary school and became farmers. Therefore, farmers learn the way of agriculture from their fathers, in general. They would rather believe the way of their fathers' agriculture is the best than following scientifically correct way, according to our interview with farmers in the preliminary survey. In this sense, we would like to insist on the necessity of capacity building like training courses for farmers. Capacity building measures will help farmers understand appropriate amount of water, fertilizer and pesticide and decrease it. Regarding WTP, our survey also indicates around 60% of farmers is not satisfied with the irrigation circumstances managed by WUAs and national government. We guessed this dissatisfaction leads to the result of low WTP. As a background of this problem, in our preliminary survey, we heard that since farmers have few opportunities to talk with WUAs staff or government officials, it is difficult for them to request something. We think this lack of dialogue or communication between farmers and managerial organizations is one of the major factors of low WTP. We would like to insist on the regular meeting for exchanging information and opinions among farmers, WUAs and government officials. 4. Conclusion As a conclusion, through the questionnaire survey, it is required to increase better mutual understanding of scientific knowledge and managerial organizations. We believe our comprehensive policy to realize this mutual understanding will change farmers' mind and their actual behavior.

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