Development of Dryland Agriculture in India

B. Hemalatha and Y.V.R. Reddy

About 65 per cent of arable land of 143 m ha of total cultivated/arable land even today depends upon monsoon rains. The productivity of dryland crops is not only low but also highly fluctuating depending upon the rainfall and its distribution. Government of India has taken several measures to improve the position of dryland farmers in India, but all measure have not helped farmers to adjust to drought spells, late arrival and early seizure of monsoons. Farmers in dryland have been facing peculiar situation in India during this year. Government has initiated watershed programme for development of agriculture in drylands in 1983-84 and has been allotting funds annually to change scenario of lands but this year drought proved that this is a futile exercise. Hence there is a need to develop technologies and carry out works addressing to drought spells, low productivity, developing measures for the benefit of farmers during drought/famine periods, etc. Thus this paper deals some of the issues pertaining to dryland farming and dryland farmer so as to ameliorate the conditions of rural people in arid and semi-arid regions in India.

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