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RA 00020.pdf4.65 MB
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Publication Year: 
Report/Series/Bulletin Name: 
International workshop on farming systems, ICRISAT, Andhra Pradesh, India, 18-21 Nov 1974 / International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
Report/series/Bulletin Number: 

Rain-fed agriculture has failed to provide even the minimum food requirements (let alone an acceptable standard of living) for the rapidly increasing populations of many developing countries in the semi-arid tropics. Although the reasons for this are complex, the primary constraint to agricultural development in the seasonally dry tropics is the lack of suitable technology for land and water management and crop production under conditions of relatively low and extremely erratic rainfall. The severity of the constraints is amplified by generally high evaporation conditions and in many areas by soils of shallow depth with limited water-holding capacity. This situation results not only in low general production levels, it also  causes great instability and uncertainty from year to year. Therefore, improved resource management which conserves and utilizes the rainfall and the soil marc effectively, and new crop production systems whichmaintain productivity and assure dependable harvests, are urgently required. Greater demands for food in the seasonally dry tropics have resulted in greater pressure on the land. The intensification of land use in the traditional agricultural setting may become self-defeating.  Deforestation, overgrazing and uninterrupted cultivation on sloping lands have caused increased runoff, reduced recharge of the soil profile  and the ground-water and also severe soil erosion. These processes in turn have caused soil deterioration, nutrient losses and lower yields of upland crops, downstream flooding of heavily cropped and populated areas, sedimentation of reservoirs and the Iocs of precious water to the seas.
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