This case study builds on an ongoing large-scale quantitative research project undertaken by BIDS/IRRI since 1987 originally in 64 unions from 57 districts of the country. It adds a qualitative research component to examine the impact of modern rice varieties (MVs) on livelihoods in a structured sample of eight of these villages across a range of favorable and unfavorable contexts. This component was structured using the sustainable livelihoods framework and employed focus groups stratified by poverty ranking and gender.
Results showed that the adoption of MVs had significant positive impacts on crop yields and farm incomes for households with access to land. However, as rice farming accounted for only 20 per cent of total household incomes in 2001, the overall impact on incomes was relatively small. Although the profitability of rice is declining due to falling prices, higher input costs and reduced farm sizes, the crop nevertheless contributes greatly to food security and acts as an entry point to off-farm employment.