New science tools for managing community watersheds for enhancing impact uri icon


  • One of the main reasons for low productivity in the rainfed SAT areas is lack of knowledge and use of new science tools; other reasons are the inherent low soil fertility, drought, severe degradation of natural resource base, poor infrastructure, low cash inputs, etc. At ICRISAT, lot of research on application of new science ~ools s~ch as simulation modeling, geographical mformatlon systems (GIS), satellite imageries alone and in combination has showed that the efficiency and ~ffectiveness of this research could be substantially Improved. Use of GIS for characterizing the agro┬Čecosystems along with information on soils, crops, length of growing period and biotic and abiotic constraints enabled the researchers to identify the technology application domains effectively with less cost. The GIS along with simulation modeling particularly using the water balance model enabled to identify the quantities of excess water available during the season as well as to plan the watershed management activities. Further, using GIS and satellite imageries simultaneously at different times during the seasons enabled to identify about 2 million ha rainy season fallow lands in Madhya Pradesh, India. In the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) in South Asia about 15 million ha land was found suitable for growing rob; (postrainy season) crops after growing rice in the sy~tem. This not only enabled the scientists to develop SUItable crops and management options for crop intensification but also enhanced the sustainability of the systems as well as economic gains for the poor farmers. Use of simulation models enabled to assess the potential of different agro-ecoregions using important crops and identify the yield gaps existing between the farmers' fields and the achievable yields. Thus there is a need to scale-up the available technologies. Research is needed to minimize the gap between the achievable yield and potential yield. Simulation models also helped in identifying the constraints and suitable technology application domains without going through the process of conducting costly long-term experimentation with a number of management options. Most importantly using simulation modeling long-term impacts of different management options on C sequestration could be assessed which would have been not possible in all the cases using conventional long-term experimentation approach. This review study has shown that there are several new science tools to enhance the impact of agricultural research in rainfed areas of the SAT. Application of these new science tools has helped the researchers, policy makers as well as research managers to plan, execute and monitor the research and development programs in rainfed areas for reducing the poverty

publication date

  • 2009