Nudging Agriculture towards higher yield

Nudging is a contemporary technique of influencing people towards desirable behaviors.

A conference on "Agriculture productivity improvement through nudging" was organized on June 6 at Pir Mehr Ali Shah University Rawalpindi in partnership with University of California Davis sponsored by Agriculture Innovation Program Pakistan. The conference was aimed at exploring nudging techniques to achieve higher productivity in agriculture. Dr Rai Niaz Ahmed vice chancellor honoured the inaugural session as the Chief Guest. Dr Aneela Afzal delivered the welcome address and introduced nudging as a tool to influence farmers. Dr Mar Bell from University of California Davis gave an overview of the conference and outlined some areas in which nudging can be used as a potential vehicle for agriculture extension.  Dr Imtiaz Ahmed CIMMYT country representative,Dr Abdul saboor Dean Social Sciences,Dr Khalid saifullah Director Oric and Dr Naimatullah Hashmi Chairman deptt of Sociology also graced  the conference along with more than 350 faculty members, PhD ,MPhil scholars and people from Industry, Monsanto and Rafhan maiz.

The conference was divided into three technical sessions. First session was about nudging through academic reforms. The session was chaired by Dr Abdul Saboor and Dr Imtiaz Mohammed. Dr Imtiaz highlighted the importance of academic reforms needed to signify the effects of nudging in agriculture while Dr Saboor accentuated the importance of utilizing nudging as a revolutionary and free policy tool and prioritized some potential areas in which nudging can help raise agriculture productivity.

The second session, chaired by Mr. Gulzar Hussain Shah (MD Utility Stores) discoursed on ‘Nudging through government policy reforms’). The worthy presenter proceeded by emphasizing on importance of governmental reforms in agriculture sector. Mr. Shahid Zia (Executive Director Lok Sanjh Foundation) argued that with active participation of farmers, techniques such as nudging could be effectively used for sustainable development of agricultural sector. Mr Nadeem Ahmed from Leads Pakistan also addressed the importance of nudging and need of governmental policy reforms.

Dr. Mark Bell from UC Davis led the third session which discussed nudging using ICT. Dr. Bell being an expert in the areas of research extension linkages, adult education and use of ICT highlighted the emerging concept of nudging in agriculture sector, developed  frameworks for implementation, and identified skills required to craft effective nudging strategies and reforms. Dr Babar Shahbaz from UAF aptly linked nudging with contemporary information and communication technology and highlighted the benefits that can be reaped by rethinking the present ICT using nudge economics. Mr Saleem Ahmed Ranjha secretery Benazir Income support program addressed the relatively new and untapped avenue of mobile apps as a nudging tool to achieve higher productivity. Mr Ammar jaffri who has vast experience of electronic community development shared his expertise with the audience on use of nudging in electronic community development and rural economic uplift.

The conference concluded on a high note with the participants heralding bright prospects and unparalleled opportunities for the best practices and scientific innovations to raise productivity in the agriculture sector.