Diversifying vegetable production systems for improving the livelihood of resource poor farmers on the East Indian Plateau

Manickam, R and Kaur, D P and Vemula, A K and Rathore, A and Unkovich, M and Bellotti, W and Kumar, A and Gorai, B and Nair, R M (2023) Diversifying vegetable production systems for improving the livelihood of resource poor farmers on the East Indian Plateau. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (TSI), 7. 01-15. ISSN 2571-581X

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Failure of the rice crop, or low rice yield has dire consequences for rice-dependent households, including food insecurity and malnutrition, for India’s poorest farmers in the East Indian Plateau region. Crop diversification could reduce the risks of rice production from the vagaries of rainfall and provide cash income which is not generated from subsistence rice. Being the primary household laborers women bear the brunt of these difficult conditions in patriarchal societies. For this reason we engaged with the women farmers in Bokaro and West Singhbhum in the State of Jharkhand, and Purulia in West Bengal who participated in experiments conducted with vegetable crops and legumes in the upland and medium uplands where the traditional crop is broadcasted paddy rice. We explored four different vegetable systems, (i) cucurbits (rainy/kharif) (season—June to September), (ii) growing tomatoes in the “off season” (rainy season—July to October), (iii) growing legume crops in rotation with direct sown rice (dry/rabi season—November to January), and (iv) intercropping beans with maize (rainy season—June to September). The results showed that all the above crops proved much better in terms of income to the farmers, return per person day, although the input cost varied it was higher with the new systems explored. The research with the small-holding women farmers enabled them to try new options and make informed decisions about these opportunities. This study showed that farmers can increase crop diversity and expand the area sown to non-paddy crops. The farmers are now looking for new crops where the demand exceeds the supply. Importantly this study has demonstrated that the direct involvement of communities’ in research enables the farmers to sustainability explore solutions to the future problems with limited support from the external agencies.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Statistics, Bio-Informatics & Data Management
Uncontrolled Keywords: cropping system, legumes, paddy, off-season, intercropping, citizen science
Subjects: Others > Intercropping
Others > Cropping and Farming Systems
Others > Legume Crops
Depositing User: Mr Nagaraju T
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2024 05:21
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2024 05:21
URI: http://oar.icrisat.org/id/eprint/12400
Official URL: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsufs...
Acknowledgement: This work was undertaken as part of the initiative “Improving livelihoods with innovative cropping systems on the East India Plateau” which was supported by the Government of Australia. It was also supported by long-term strategic donors to the World Vegetable Center: Taiwan, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) from the UK Government, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) (LWR/2010/082), Germany, Thailand, Philippines, Korea, and Japan
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