International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Suitability and Sustainability of Alternate Agronomic Practices
for Mitigating Livelihood Problems of Dryland Farming Areas

R. Raman* and G. Kuppuswamy

Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Annamalai University, Tamil Nadu, India


Drylands constitute the land both on steep slope and flat valley plains where water resource (surface and ground water) are not sufficient and hence, agriculture depends on rainfall. The arable land depends entirely on rainfall for crop production and the practice of agriculture here is called dryland farming. Drylands cover a vast area of earth.  Drylands are generally poor in productivity. Most of the crops and varieties grown in drylands are subsistence oriented with low yields. The cultivars are of longer duration, photosensitive and have a low harvest index with low response to inputs.
Major constraint for the crop production of dryland farming are improper land preparation, improper soil and moisture conservation practice, non-adoption of suitable crop and variety, seed hardening and other agronomic practices. Thus there is a well recognized and urgent need for development of dryland farming technology for increasing agriculture production in the areas of low rainfall and its erratic distribution. Adoption of recent advanced agro techniques for dryland farming, are of greater significance for successful agriculture under these conditions.
New agronomic practices like choice of crops and varieties, seed hardening for drought tolerance, seed pelleting, time and depth of sowing, choice of alternate crops / cropping system, mid-term correction, mulching, use of anti transpirants, spraying of nutrient solution including growth hormones and other soil and water conservation practices are strongly recommended.
In the studies conducted at many paces indicated that integration of all agro-techniques resulted in enhanced income and employment generation as well as provided best opportunity for consideration of resources mainly soil and moisture.  There is a growing awareness to have optimal exploitation of these resources and to ameliorate living conditions therein.