International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security

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Biological Integration of Farming Activities and Resource Management
in an Arid Agro-ecosystem in Rajasthan, India

Parthiba Basu1 and Prabhu Kumwat2

1 Development Research Communication & Services Centre, Kolkata, India

2 Society to Uplift Rural Economy, Barmer, Rajasthan, India


A number of agro-ecosystem level interventions have been taken up in the Barmer district of Rajasthan since early 2005 as part of an All India Coordinated Program on Biological integration of farming activities and resource management (BIOFARM) for resource poor small and marginal farmers. This program is catalyzed and supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India. Barmer district is essentially arid, being part of the Thar deserts ecosystem, and is one of the 17 sites across India where BIOFARM program is being implemented. Guiding principles of the BIOFARM program are firstly, diversification of a given agro-ecosystem both at the farm subsystem as well as at the component level within a given subsystem; and secondly, biological integration among various subsystems and components to ensure a closer resource/energy cycling within the given agroecosystem. The primary objectives are to improve the whole farm ecosystem productivity rather than just the seasonal crop subsystem and thereby ensure livelihood and nutritional security at the household level. Results show significant improvement of the diversity and various agronomic conditions following last two cropping seasons’ interventions. There have also been marked improvements in the resource and energy flow among various subsystems and intra subsystem components. Positive impacts of the above on the farm economy as well as on the household livelihood and nutrition profile are perceptible from the early trends. This paper reports some of these early trends following interventions taken up as part of the BIOFARM program, in the above arid agro-ecosystem.