Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-v5vhk Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-24T11:25:09.447Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Exploring the supply and demand factors of varietal turnover in Indian wheat

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2015

Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington D.C., USA
Transformation of Global Agri-Food Systems, Georg-August University of Göttingen, Germany
*To whom all correspondence should be addressed. Email:


Cultivar depreciation – the gradual decline in relative advantage of a cultivated variety over time – accentuates the vulnerability of resource-poor farmers to production risks. The current paper addresses constraints in combating cultivar depreciation of wheat in India. National level data on quoted demand for breeder seeds and breeder seed production indicated a slowdown in the rate of cultivar turnover of wheat, with average varietal age increasing from 9 years in 1997 to 12 years in 2009. Analysis of cultivar adoption patterns among farmer households of Haryana State also indicates that farmers prefer cultivars that were released a decade ago over the recent ones. Cultivar turnover rates are found to be particularly low among marginal farmers. While the structure of India's wheat breeding and seed delivery systems might be the primary cause of slow cultivar turnover, a number of social and economic factors at the micro-level are also responsible. Many of the constraints to technology adoption and wheat productivity growth, identified during the Green Revolution era, persist even today.

Crops and Soils Research Papers
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



AICRPNSP (2009). Annual Report 2008/09. All India Coordinated Research Project on National Seed Project (Crops). New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
AICRPNSP (2010). Annual Report 2009/10. All India Coordinated Research Project on National Seed Project (Crops). New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
Bandiera, O. & Rasul, I. (2006). Social networks and technology adoption in northern Mozambique. Economic Journal 116, 869902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Battese, G. E. (1997). A note on the estimation of Cobb-Douglas production functions when some explanatory variables have zero values. Journal of Agricultural Economics 48, 250252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brennan, J. P. (1984). Measuring the contribution of new varieties to increasing wheat yields. Review of Marketing and Agricultural Economics 52, 175195.Google Scholar
Brennan, J. P. & Byerlee, D. (1991). The rate of crop varietal replacement on farms: measures and empirical results for wheat. Plant Varieties and Seeds 4, 99106.Google Scholar
Byerlee, D. & Heisey, P. W. (1990). Wheat varietal diversification over time and space as factors in yield gains and rust resistance in the Punjab. In Accelerating the Transfer of Wheat Breeding Gains to Farmers: a Study of the Dynamics of Varietal Replacement in Pakistan (Ed. Heisey, P. W.), pp. 524. CIMMYT Research Report No. 1. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
Chand, R. & Singh, H. (2011). The seeds bill 2011: some reflections. Economic and Political Weekly 46 (51), 2225.Google Scholar
Chauhan, B. S., Mahajan, G., Sardana, V., Timsina, J. & Jat, M. L. (2012). Productivity and sustainability of the rice-wheat cropping system in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of the Indian subcontinent: problems, opportunities, and strategies. Advances in Agronomy 117, 315369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
CIMMYT (2013). Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT. Available online from: (accessed December 10, 2013).Google Scholar
Conley, T. G. & Udry, C. R. (2010). Learning about a new technology: pineapple in Ghana. American Economic Review 100, 3569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Datt, R. & Sundharam, K. P. M. (2000). Indian Economy. New Delhi: S. Chand Limited.Google Scholar
Dixon, J., Nalley, L., Kosina, P., La Rovere, R., Hellin, J. & Aquino, P. (2006). Adoption and economic impact of improved wheat varieties in the developing world. Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 144, 489502.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Doss, C. R. (2006). Analyzing technology adoption using microstudies: limitations, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. Agricultural Economics 34, 207219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Duflo, E., Kremer, M. & Robinson, J. (2011). Nudging farmers to use fertilizer: theory and experimental evidence from Kenya. American Economic Review 101, 2350–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
DWR (2011). Progress Report of the All India Coordinated Wheat and Barley Improvement Project 2010–11. Karnal, India: Directorate of Wheat Research.Google Scholar
DWR (2013). Annual Report 2012–13. Karnal, India: Directorate of Wheat Research.Google Scholar
Erenstein, O., Farooq, U., Malik, R. K. & Sharif, M. (2008). On-farm impacts of zero tillage wheat in South Asia's rice-wheat systems. Field Crops Research 105, 240252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
FAO (2013). FAOSTAT. Rome: FAO. Available online from: (accessed March 2015).Google Scholar
Feder, G. & O'Mara, G. T. (1981). Farm size and the diffusion of green revolution technology. Economic Development and Cultural Change 30, 5976.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foster, A. D. & Rosenzweig, M. R. (1995). Learning by doing and learning from others: human capital and technical change in agriculture. Journal of Political Economy 103, 11761209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foster, A. D. & Rosenzweig, M. R. (2010). Microeconomics of technology adoption. Annual Review of Economics 2, 395424.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
GoI (2011). Key Indicators of Household Consumer Expenditure in India 2009–2010. National Sample Survey 66th round. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
GoI (2012 a). Nutritional Intake in India. Report No. 540. National Sample Survey 66th round. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
GoI (2012b). National Food Security Mission: Retrospect and Prospects. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
Heisey, P. W. (1990). Accelerating the Transfer of Wheat Breeding Gains to Farmers: A Study of the Dynamics of Varietal Replacement in Pakistan. Research Report No. 1. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
Heisey, P. W. & Brennan, J. P. (1991). An analytical model of farmers’ demand for replacement seed. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 73, 10441052.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jack, B. K. (2011). Market Inefficiencies and the Adoption of Agricultural Technologies in Developing Countries. White paper, Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative. Berkeley, CA, USA: J-PAL (MIT) & CEGA (UC Berkley).Google Scholar
Jain, K. B. L. & Byerlee, D. (1999). Investment efficiency at the national level: wheat improvement research in India. In The Global Wheat Improvement System: Prospects for Enhancing Efficiency in the Presence of Spillovers (Eds Maredia, M. K. & Byerlee, D.), pp. 85102. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
Johnson, D. G. & Gustafson, R. L. (1962). Grain Yields and the American Food Supply: An Analysis of Yield Changes and Possibilities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Joshi, A. K., Mishra, B., Chatrath, R., Ferrara, G. O. & Singh, R. P. (2007). Wheat improvement in India: present status, emerging challenges and future prospects. Euphytica 157, 431446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Just, R. & Zilberman, D. (1983). Stochastic structure, farm size and technology adoption in developing agriculture. Oxford Economic Papers 35, 307328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Karlan, D., Osei, R., Osei-Akoto, I. & Udry, C. (2014). Agricultural decisions after relaxing credit and risk constraints. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 129, 597652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krishna, V., Mehrotra, M. B., Teufel, N. & Bishnoi, D. K. (2012 a). Characterizing the Cereal Systems and Identifying the Potential of Conservation Agriculture in South Asia. Socio-Economics Working Paper 5. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
Krishna, V., Aravindakshan, S., Chowdhury, A. & Rudra, B. (2012b). Farmer Access and Differential Impacts of Zero Tillage Technology in the Subsistence Wheat Farming Systems of West Bengal, India. Socio-Economics Working Paper 7. Mexico, D.F.: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
Kundu, S., Singh, C., Shoran, J. & Singh, S. S. (2010). An Update on Released Wheat Varieties and Registered Genetic Stocks (Triticum L.). Technical Bulletin No. 13. Karnal, India: Directorate of Wheat Research.Google Scholar
Lipton, M. & Longhurst, R. (1985). Modern Varieties, International Agricultural Research, and the Poor. Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Study Paper No. 2. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.Google Scholar
Maertens, A. (2012). Who Cares What Others Think (or do)? Social Learning, Social Pressures, and Imitation in Cotton Farming in India. Working Paper. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.Google Scholar
Manski, C. F. (1993). Identification of endogenous social effects: the reflection problem. The Review of Economic Studies 60, 531542.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Matuschke, I. & Qaim, M. (2009). The impact of social networks on hybrid seed adoption in India. Agricultural Economics 40, 493505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McNiven, S. & Gilligan, D. (2012). Networks and Constraints on the Diffusion of a Biofortified Agricultural Technology: Evidence from a Partial Population Experiment. Working Paper. Davis, CA: University of California.Google Scholar
Mehla, R. S., Verma, J. K., Gupta, R. K. & Hobbs, P. R. (2000). Stagnation in the Productivity of Wheat in the Indo-Gangetic Plains: Zero-till-seed-cum-fertilizer Drill as an Integrated Solution. Rice-Wheat Consortium Paper Series 8. New Delhi, India: Rice-Wheat Consortium.Google Scholar
Mohan, D., Nagarajan, S., Singh, R. V. P. & Shoran, J. (2001). Is the national wheat breeding programme demand-driven? – an analysis. Current Science 81, 749753.Google Scholar
Munshi, K. (2004). Social learning in a heterogeneous population: technology diffusion in the Indian Green Revolution. Journal of Development Economics 73, 185213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nagarajan, S. (2005). Can India produce enough wheat even by 2020? Current Science 89, 14671471.Google Scholar
Nazli, H. & Smale, M. (2014). Dynamics of wheat variety adoption on farms in Pakistan: a duration model. In Agricultural & Applied Economics Association's 2014 AAEA Annual Meeting, July 27–29, 2014, Minneapolis, Minnesota, pp. 1–38. Minneapolis, MN: AAEA. Available online from: (accessed January 2015).Google Scholar
NSP (1998–2008). Project Coordinator's Reports 1997/98 to 2007/08. National Seed Project. New Delhi: Government of India.Google Scholar
Pingali, P. L. (1999). World Wheat Facts and Trends 1998/99. Global Wheat Research in a Changing World: Challenges and Achievements. Mexico D.F: CIMMYT.Google Scholar
Rashid, S., Dorosh, P. A., Malek, M. & Lemma, S. (2013). Modern input promotion in sub-Saharan Africa: insights from Asian green revolution. Agricultural Economics 44 (Sp Issue), 705721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Reynolds, M. P. & Borlaug, N. E. (2006). Impacts of breeding on international collaborative wheat improvement. The Journal of Agricultural Science, Cambridge 144, 317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Seednet India (2013). National Seed Plan. New Delhi: Seednet India (accessed January 2015).Google Scholar
Smale, M., Singh, J., Di Falco, S. & Zambrano, P. (2008). Wheat breeding, productivity and slow variety change: evidence from the Punjab of India after the Green Revolution. The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics 52, 419432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spielman, D. J., Kolady, D. E., Cavalieri, A. & Rao, N. C. (2014). The seed and agricultural biotechnology industries in India: an analysis of industry structure, competition, and policy options. Food Policy 45, 88100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Timsina, J. & Connor, D. J. (2001). Productivity and management of rice-wheat cropping systems: issues and challenges. Field Crops Research 69, 93132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Witcombe, J. R., Packwood, A. J., Raj, A. G. B. & Virk, D. S. (1998). The extent and rate of adoption of modern cultivars in India. In Seeds of Choice: Making the Most of New Varieties for Small Farmers (Eds Witcombe, J. R., Virk, D. S. & Farrington, J.), pp. 5368. New Delhi: Oxford IBH, New Delhi & London: Intermediate Technology Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar