Indian agriculture faces the challenge of balancing global competitiveness, social inclusiveness, and environmental sustainability.
About 65% of India’s arable land, around 140 million hectares, is rainfed and characterized by low productivity and limited technology adoption.
Dryland areas experience water deficit due to low soil moisture and high evapotranspiration.
Dryland farming enhances soil fertility, addresses hunger and malnutrition issues.
Problems Associated with Dryland Agriculture
Soil and Moisture:
Different soil types dominate various regions, such as alfisols and vertisols in semiarid regions, inceptisols and entisols in river basins, and desert soils.
Crops in alfisols face severe drought stress, while vertisols exhibit better water-holding capacity.
Soil erosion, mainly caused by water, affects mountainous and undulating terrains in Central India.
Salinization significantly degrades soils.
Watershed-based approaches effectively conserve water and soil.
Environmental Changes in Water Logging and Salinity:
Soil degradation closely links to water logging and salinity, impacting dryland crops.
Overirrigation, poor drainage, and improper irrigation contribute to water logging and salinity.
These changes reduce yields and lead to land abandonment with irrigation potential.
Dietary Habits and Nutritional Characteristics of Crops:
Limited crop choices in drylands include oilseed pulses and coarse grains like bajra.
Dryland crops’ low remuneration creates economic imbalances, suggesting crop substitution.
Dryland farming aids water conservation, minimizes soil erosion, and promotes sustainability.
Technological advancements can mitigate climate change effects, reduce greenhouse emissions, and enhance soil carbon sequestration.