Integrated Watershed Management for Increasing Productivity and Water-Use Efficiency in Semi-Arid Tropical India uri icon

abstract

  • Poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition are pervasive in the semi-arid tropics (SAT) of South Asia, including India. In rural areas, most of the poor make their livelihoods on the use of natural resources, which are degraded and inefficiently used. This is because of the inadequate traditional management practices of managing agriculture as well as the fact that resulting crop yields are much below the expected potential yields. ICRISAT in the early 1970s initiated research on watersheds for integrated use of land, water, and crop management technologies for increasing crop production through efficient use of natural resources, especially rainfall that is highly variable in the SAT and is the main cause of year-to-year variation in crop production in India. Improved watershed management on Vertisols more than doubled crop productivity, and rainfall-use efficiency increased from 35% to 70% when compared with traditional technology. After many years of implementing and evaluating these improved technologies in on-farm situations, many lessons were learned and they formed part of the integrated watershed management model currently being pursued by ICRISAT in community watersheds in rural settings. This watershed model is more holistic and puts rural communities and their collective actions at center stage for implementing improved watershed technologies with technical backstopping and convergence by consortium partners. We describe here the achievements made in enhancing crop productivity and rainfall-use efficiency by implementing improved technologies in on-farm community watersheds in India

publication date

  • 2009
  • 2009