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Indian Economy / Agriculture Sector

Dryland Agriculture in India


    Cultivation of crops that entirely depends on natural rainfall is called Dryland agriculture. Dryland areas are the areas which are not having assured irrigation facilities and receive erratic and low rainfall.

    • Dryland areas are not much suitable for water intensive crops like rice, banana, sugarcane, etc. but coarse grain crops like oilseeds, pulses, etc. can be grown in dryland soils.
    • The areas which receive less than 75cm of rain are called drylands and which receive more than 75 cm of rain are called rainfed areas.
    • Even though there is considerable development of irrigation facilities and potential availability of water in the country, at any point of time it is reckoned that near about 50% of farming area in India will remain under Dryland / Rainfed farming system.
    • The strategy followed for dryland farming is a two pronged approach, (i) Improving the soil condition by removing salinity and alkalinity and (ii) Developing new strains of drought resistance, short duration and high yielding variety crops.
    • Rainfed Area Development ( RAD ) -
      • Rainfed Area Development concentrates on Integrated Farming System ( IFS ) for minimizing the risks linked with climatic vagaries and increasing the productivity.
      • Under Integrated Farming System, cropping system is mixed with various other activities like livestock, fishery, sericulture, horticulture, agro-forestry, apiculture, etc.
      • IFS makes the farmers to maximize their farm income as well as to mitigate the impacts of flood, drought or any other extreme weather events with the supplementary income that is made through allied activities during crop damage.
    • To tackle the adverse monsoon conditions, which leads to drought, floods and extreme weather events which in turn adversely impact crops, livestock, fisheries, etc., the Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture ( CRIDA ) prepares district level Agriculture Contingency Plans in association with state level agricultural universities so that appropriate measures can be taken for that particular area.