Economic benefits of climate-smart agricultural practices to smallholder farmers in the Indo-Gangetic Plains of India uri icon

abstract

  • Impact of dynamic land use and land cover changes on the livelihood of local communities and ecosystem services is a major concern. This is particularly evident in most dryland agricultural systems in South Asia. We study land use/land cover (LULC) changes over the last two decades in a watershed (9589 ha) located in semi-arid eco-region in South India (Anantapuram district) using Landsat and IRS imagery. We captured additional data through field observations and focused group discussions. The high resolution 30 m data and the spectral matching techniques (SMTs) provided accuracy of 91?100% for various land use classes and 80?95% for the rice and groundnut areas. The watershed studied has undergone significant land use changes between 1988 and 2012. Diminishing size and number of surface water bodies, and contrastingly increased areas under irrigation clearly explain that the system has evolved significantly towards groundwater-irrigated groundnut production. Such changes could be beneficial in the short run, but if the groundwater withdrawal is without sufficient recharge, the long-term consequences on livelihoods could be negative. The water scarcity could be aggravated under the climate change. The construction of checkdams and dugout ponds to recharge groundwater is a potential solution to enhance recharge
  • Small landholders can implement a range of climate-smart agricultural (CSA) practices and technologies, in order to minimize the adverse effects of climate change and variability, but their adoption largely depends on economic benefits associated with the practices. To demonstrate the potential economic benefits of CSA practices, we conducted a study with smallholder farmers in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) of India. Among the CSA practices and technologies including use of improved crop varieties, laser land levelling, zero tillage, residue management, site specific nutrient management, and crop diversification, a majority of the farmers prefer to use improved crop varieties, crop diversification, laser land levelling and zero tillage practice. We estimated the cost of adoption, change in yields and income for the implementation of three major CSA practices in rice-wheat system. The average cost of adoption were +1,402, +3,037 and -1,577 INR ha(-1) for the use of improved crop varieties, laser land levelling and zero tillage respectively. Results show that farmers can increase net return of INR 15,712 ha(-1) yr(-1) with improved crop varieties, INR 8,119 ha(-1) yr(-1) with laser levelling and INR 6,951 ha(-1) yr(-1) with zero tillage in rice-wheat system. Results also show that the combination of improved seeds with zero tillage and laser land levelling technologies can further improve crop yields as well as net returns. The econometric analysis indicates that implementations of CSA practices and technologies in smallholder farms in the IGP of India, have significant impacts on change in total production costs and yield in rice-wheat system.

publication date

  • 2016
  • 2016
  • 2016