• Approximately 65% of India’s arable land, totaling around 140 million hectares, is classified as rainfed.
  • Farming in these areas is often marked by low production, high risk, and limited use of modern technology and agronomic practices.
  • Drylands are characterized by low soil moisture and high evapotranspiration, leading to a perennial water deficit.
  • Dryland farming enhances soil organic matter, improving fertility and structure, and addresses hunger and malnutrition in society.

Problems Associated with Dryland Agriculture

Soil and Moisture:

  • Semiarid regions predominantly feature alfisols and vertisols, while river basins and desert regions have inceptisols and entisols.
  • Crops in alfisols face severe drought stress, whereas those in vertisols are less prone to drought due to higher water-holding capacity.
  • Water erosion is a major issue in the mountainous and undulating terrains of Central India.
  • Salinization significantly contributes to soil degradation.

Environmental Changes in Water Logging and Salinity:

  • Soil degradation is closely linked with water logging and salinity problems, which severely impact dryland crops.
  • Key causes include overirrigation, poor drainage, and improper irrigation practices on damaged soils.

Dietary Habits and Nutritional Characteristics of Crops:

  • Dryland agriculture is typically limited to oilseeds, pulses, and coarse grains such as bajra.
  • These crops are not highly profitable, leading to economic imbalances. Crop substitution could be a viable solution.


Watershed-based approaches have proven effective in water and soil conservation.

Implementing various dryland farming technologies can mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting soil carbon sequestration.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish July 10, 2024