Carrying capacity of Indian agriculture: issues related to rainfed agriculture

Venkateswarlu, B. and Prasad, J.V.N.S. (2012) Carrying capacity of Indian agriculture: issues related to rainfed agriculture. Current Science, 102 (6). pp. 882-888.

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Carrying capacity (CC) in the context of Indian agriculture, denotes the number of people and livestock an area can support on a sustainable basis. CC is dynamic in nature, varying from time to time based on utilization of resources, technology application and management. In India, rainfed agriculture occupies nearly 58% of the cultivated area, contributes 40% of country’s food production, and supports 40% of the human and 60% of the livestock population. The food grains production has increased several fold in the last four decades. During the last decade (TE 1998–99 to TE 2008–09) the production in coarse cereals, oilseeds and pulses increased by 20%, 16% and 3% respectively, primarily due to the yield gains. There is a need to further increase food production substantially for meeting the requirements of the ever-increasing population. This will put tremendous strain on natural resources which are already under stress due to unsustainable utilization. Continuous decline in groundwater levels, growing deficiency of major and micronutrients, declining factor productivity and looming threat of climate change are some of the issues which will have a bearing on food production in the near future. However, the large realizable yield gaps in many rainfed crops, opportunities to increase yields through rainwater harvesting and recycling, soil fertility improvement, crop diversification and effective dissemination of technologies give a hope that future requirements of food can be met, but it requires substantial resources. This article discusses issues constraining rainfed crop production and possible ways to enhance productivity in a sustainable manner.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Carrying capacity, Land degradation, Productivity, Rainfed agriculture, Sustainability.
Author Affiliation: Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Hyderabad 500 059, India
Subjects: Agricultural Engineering
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr B Krishnamurthy
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2016 09:55
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2016 09:55

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