The production of rainfed crops in semi-arid tropics exhibits large variation in response to the variation in seasonal rainfall. There are several farm-level decisions such as the choice of cropping pattern, whether to invest in fertilizers, pesticides etc., the choice of the period for planting, plant population density etc. for which the appropriate choice (associated with maximum production or minimum risk) depends upon the nature of the rainfall variability or the prediction for a specific year. In this paper, we have addressed the problem of identifying the appropriate strategies for cultivation of rainfed groundnut in the Anantapur region in a semi-arid part of the Indian peninsula. The approach developed involves participatory research with active collaboration with farmers, so that the problems with perceived need are addressed with the modern tools and data sets available. Given the large spatial variation of climate and soil, the appropriate strategies are necessarily location specific. With the approach adopted, it is possible to tap the detailed location specific knowledge of the complex rainfed ecosystem and gain an insight into the variety of options of land use and management practices available to each category of stakeholders. We believe such a participatory approach is essential for identifying strategies that have a favourable cost–benefit ratio over the region considered and hence are associated with a high chance of acceptance by the stakeholders.
Agricultural Systems – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 2002
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