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Apr 7, 2009

Practice crop diversification - Scientists

Scientists have identified that water scarcity was a major impediment to agricultural productivity in Allapalayam village in Coimbatore. A group of them, recruited for the Agricultural Research Service of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, undertook a study of a sample village in Coimbatore to find out the problems of the farmers.

They used the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) technique for their study. The salient features of their study were presented at a seminar at the Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Coimbatore, recently.According to the scientists, conventional rain-fed farming was becoming risky and farmers were reluctant to invest in crop production. Low nutrient content and soil degradation were some of the soil related constraints and the farmers had shifted to irrigated production systems.

They suggested that practising crop diversification, scientific livestock production, agro-forestry, growing drought resistant plant varieties and medicinal plants, aquaculture in water harvesting ponds, improvement of soil health through mulching, etc., could help in enhancing crop productivity.

N. Gopalakrishnan, Head, CICR, chaired the seminar and urged the scientists to come up with many more suggestions to benefit the farmers.The study, according to him, helped create awareness for development of need-based research projects to mitigate water scarcity and efficient utilisation of limited available water resources. The findings were expected to enhance the water productivity so that the farming community could earn more for each drop of water used as it had become one of the most scarce agricultural inputs.

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