An Assessment of Policy Impact on Agricultural Water Use in the Northeast of Syria
This article aims to measure the impact of the agricultural policy on water use in the northeast of Syria through simulated scenarios to illustrate their potential impacts on achieving some publically desirable objectives such as saving water and maintaining stable farm incomes.
The irrigated agricultural sector in the targeted region is modelled using mathematical programming coupled with farm representation. Farmers’ objective is assumed to be the maximisation of expected utility of farm income applied using mean-variance principle. Then the impact of the recent policy reforms is measured, demonstrating that recent reforms are expected to have light impacts on water use and farm income compared to the situation in the reference year.
In light of alternative policy actions, three scenarios are simulated. Modernising the irrigation system scenario illustrates that adoption of modern irrigation techniques by all farms does not restore the hydraulic deficit but has positive impacts on farm incomes. Improving irrigation efficiency scenario leads to increased farm income but fails to sustain any achieved hydraulic balance as some saved water is used to expand irrigated land. The last scenario reveals that the current credit system has negligible effects on cropping patterns and water use in the presence of the current price policy.
These results affirm that price policy is potentially the instrument that affects farmers’ decision the most. If effective in stabilizing price for water-saving crops, this may be an important tool to achieve sustainability in water use coupled with improvement in farm welfare.
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