Dry lands- are areas which receive annual rainfall of 750mm or less and where there is no irrigation facility to raise crops.
What is dry land farming?
It is a farming system adopted in areas receiving low annual rainfall approximately 750mm less with the help of soil and water management. Maximum amount of moisture is conserved for the production of crop on economic and sustainable basis. Some examples of dry land crops are corn, sorghum, papaya, guava, sunflower, etc.
Dry Land Farming issues in India:-
• Limited and uneven distribution of rainfall.
• Crusting of soil-formation of thin layer on the surface of soil which reduces porosity and reducing crop growth.
• Large scale mono cropping,
• Occurrence of extreme natural hazards like droughts, floods, etc.
• Difficulty in managing the small farms and increase in tractor hiring costs
• Non Availability of labor for precision operations like sowing and harvesting etc.
• Poor soil conditions because of lack of awareness and interest from the farmers on soil improvement activities.
• Poor market facilities to sell the produce.
• Lack of cold storages, and well shelteredwarehouses.
• Poor health of farmer and cattle due to poor economic condition.
Dry land regions in India:-
Dry land regions of northern India is spread mainly in the areas experienced green revolution in the states of Punjab, Haryana and western UP. In addition to it, Eastern Rajasthan and Gujarat, peninsular plateau and parts of telengana and Karnataka plateau. In south the leeward side of Eastern Ghats in Tamil Nadu also comes under dry land regions of the country.
With a sharp vision to get rid of hunger and poverty Mr. M. S. Swaminathan played crucial role for the development of high yield varieties of wheat in India. He was very instrumental in India’s Green Revolution program in arid and semiarid regions with clear vision of sustainable development, sustainable agriculture, food security and preservation of biodiversity.
CRIDA, NCF and dry land farming measures
Central Research Institute of Dry Agriculture (CRIDA) is the national research institute under Indian council of Agricultural research established in 1985 to carryout research in rain fed and dry land farming in the country. Major objectives are to understand crop growth process, examination and management of moisture content, to conduct mitigation and adaption research on climate change impacts, to carry out economic evaluation of technologies and to study the constraints and development of suitable models for the success of dry land farming.
National commission on Farmers also submitted reports to achieve comprehensive development of agriculture in India and emphasized to achieve faster and more inclusive growth through dry land farming.
In addition to it, Center government launched many developmental programs emphasizing on the comprehensive development of agriculture and related population. For instance these programs include: integrated watershed management program, drought area development program, desert development program, flood area management program, comprehensive wasteland development.
Dry land farming in Israel
With considerable efforts Israel is leading in dry land farming. Israel has gained worldwide reputation through research, innovation, achievements to tackle problems related to desertification and salinity. Tree plantation under afforestation campaigns helped to reverse desertification and helped earth to regain its nutrients. In addition to it, with good soil and water management techniques as greenhouse propagation and genetic selection allows them produce a lot with little use of water with the help of Drip irrigation method countrywide. Increased soil fertility helps to get crop produce by turning flood water into dike surround pots in which trees and crops are planted. This also ensures economic growth, food security and long term sustainability of the system.
Significance of dry land farming:-
Most of the rural population of India lives in dry farming areas and their livelihood also depend upon the success and failure of crops. Since areas under irrigation already facing problems due to overuse of fertilizers of decreasing fertility of land dry land farming will be very helpful for the production of many useful crops. It is generally done without the help of irrigation methods. It involves efficient system of soil and crop management in the regions of uneven distributed rainfall. It can be helpful in the development of agroforestry, horticulture, social forestry, etc.
In areas with no irrigation farmers should change crops and crop varieties so that they can get desired output with the help of rain this will result in socio economic up-liftment of farmers.