Analysis Of Constraints To Increased Productivity Of Dryland Areas

Kanwar, J S (1980) Analysis Of Constraints To Increased Productivity Of Dryland Areas. In: FAI Seminar 1980 on Fertilisers in India in the Eighties, 4-6 Dec 1980, New Delhi, India.

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The drylands of semi-arid and arid areas of subtropical regions. contribute significantly to the world's food production, particularly of coarse grains, cereals, pulses, and oilseed. Although present yields of these crops are low, they have excellent production potential in dryland conditions. In the seventies, a number of concepts and techniques have been developed that can substantially improve the productivity of many of these drylands. But they have yet to be exploited extensively and intensively. There are good indications that the new farming practices can bring about a breakthrough in production in deep Vertisols, which occupy many million hectares in India. An analysis of constraints to productivity and production in drylands shows that, besides environmental and socio-economic constraints, technological constraints also seriously limit productivity in many of these areas. Water is a limiting factor in drylands and provision of water for only "lifesaving" irrigation (i.e.. the minimum to prevent total crop loss) can stimulate a favourable chain reaction. However, even without irrigation, appropriate biological technology coupled with fertilisers can enhance productivity manifold. Fertiliser-responsive genotypes with higher yield potential and stability against yield reducers are becoming a catalyst of change in drylands. Such genotypes are available in the case of sorghum, millet, and maize, but not yet for pulses and oilseeds. Dryland farmers are becoming interested in the use of fertilisers' for dry-farm crops, but their first preference is for high-value, market-oriented crops, high-yielding cereals and for lands with better moisture-storage capacity capable of giving stable yields and assured returns. The unirrigated lands of the semi-arid tropics (SAT) in India are at present given less than 18 kg of NPK per hectare, while irrigated fields in the same area receive about 58 kg per hectare annually. It is concluded that the rate of growth of fertiliser use in both these situations is commensurate with the technology and the infrastructure but there is considerable scope for increase. This suggests a need for intensive research on the loss and efficiency of notrogenous and Phosphatic fertilisers under dryland conditions and the development of implements for seeding and fertiliser application at proper depth in relation to soil moisture. To avoid shortfalls in production of coarse grains, pulses, and oil seeds and to substantially increase their productivity, intensified support for research and development of dryland agriculture is needed. Investment in dryland agriculture should be considered a cast of social justice and equity to prevent an increasing gap between the disadvantaged populations of these poor areas and the rest of the world.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 31 Dec 2011 06:20
Last Modified: 31 Dec 2011 06:20
Acknowledgement: UNSPECIFIED
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