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Book: Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture
Published by: Crop Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy



  1.  p. 67-92
    CSSA Special Publication 32.
    Challenges and Strategies of Dryland Agriculture

    Srinivas C. Rao and John Ryan (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-611-3


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Dryland Agriculture in India

  1. Harish P. Singh,
  2. Kapil D. Sharma,
  3. Gangireddy Subba Reddy and
  4. Kishori L. Sharma
  1. Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad, India


Dryland agriculture occupies 68% of India's cultivated area and supports 40% of the human and 60% of the livestock population. It produces 44% of food requirements, thus has and will continue to play a critical role in India's food security. However, aberrant behavior of monsoon rainfall results in frequent droughts that impact resource poor farmers. Eroded and degraded soils with low water-holding capacity and multiple nutrient deficiencies, declining groundwater table, etc. contribute to low crop yields that lead to further land degradation. Managing land resources through a multidisciplinary approach in devising the most remunerative and environmentally appropriate land use characterizes Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture's (CRIDA) approach for maximizing crop productivity, profitability, and sustainability of dryland agriculture. Characterizing bio-physical and socio-economic resources, integrated watershed development, improvement of rainwater use efficiency, contingency crop planning, diversification of agriculture through livestock farming, alternate land uses, integrated soil-nutrient-water-crop management, and efficient farm implements can ensure long-term sustainability of dryland agriculture in India. Apart from these, evolving an institutional framework, improving credit availability and input supply systems, extension of crop insurance and launching of on-farm research cum pilot projects in farmers' participatory mode also need to be focused.

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