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Livelihoods and agro-ecological gradients: A meso-level analysis in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India

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  • Erenstein, Olaf
  • Thorpe, William

Abstract

Rice-wheat systems in the Indo-Gangetic Plains (IGP) have long exemplified South Asia's agricultural transformation through the Green Revolution. The same systems now also typify the post-Green Revolution stagnation and equity challenges, despite receiving considerable attention from the research and development (R&D) community. The apparent homogeneity of vast irrigated plains masks significant diversity in assets, livelihood strategies and livelihood outcomes. The paper analyzes the rural livelihoods and underlying agro-ecological gradients in the IGP drawing on village surveys and secondary data as characterization tools. The contribution of the paper is twofold: (i) new knowledge of the socio-economic circumstances in farming communities across the Indian IGP to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of R&D interventions and particularly poverty alleviation; and (ii) an illustration of a novel approach to operationalize livelihood analysis at the meso-level so as to address spatial scale issues and link micro-level contextual realities across a vast geographical area. The agricultural R&D community needs to incorporate this socio-economic diversity more proactively into its R&D agenda if it is to succeed in sustaining productivity gains, improving rural livelihoods equitably, and securing environmental sustainability in this important eco-region.

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  • Erenstein, Olaf & Thorpe, William, 2011. "Livelihoods and agro-ecological gradients: A meso-level analysis in the Indo-Gangetic Plains, India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 42-53, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:1:p:42-53
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    2. Krishna, Vijesh V. & Aravindakshan, Sreejith & Chowdhury, Apurba & Rudra, Bankim, 2012. "Farmer Access and Differential Impacts of Zero Tillage Technology in the Subsistence Wheat Farming Systems of West Bengal, India," Socioeconomics Program Working Papers 147204, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    3. Mottaleb, Khondoker A. & Krupnik, Timothy J. & Keil, Alwin & Erenstein, Olaf, 2019. "Understanding clients, providers and the institutional dimensions of irrigation services in developing countries: A study of water markets in Bangladesh," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 222(C), pages 242-253.
    4. Krishna, Vijesh V. & Mehrotra, Meera Bhatia & Teufel, Nils & Bishnoi, Dalip Kumar, 2012. "Characterizing the Cereal Systems and Identifying the Potential of Conservation Agriculture in South Asia," Socioeconomics Program Working Papers 147109, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    5. Cristian Timmermann & Georges Félix, 2015. "Agroecology as a vehicle for contributive justice," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 32(3), pages 523-538, September.
    6. Adelhart Toorop, Roos & Ceccarelli, Viviana & Bijarniya, Deepak & Jat, Mangi Lal & Jat, Raj Kumar & Lopez-Ridaura, Santiago & Groot, Jeroen C.J., 2020. "Using a positive deviance approach to inform farming systems redesign: A case study from Bihar, India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 185(C).
    7. Mottaleb, Khondoker Abdul & Singh, Pawan Kumar & He, Xinyao & Hossain, Akbar & Kruseman, Gideon & Erenstein, Olaf, 2019. "Alternative use of wheat land to implement a potential wheat holiday as wheat blast control: In search of feasible crops in Bangladesh," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 1-12.
    8. Lopez-Ridaura, Santiago & Frelat, Romain & van Wijk, Mark T. & Valbuena, Diego & Krupnik, Timothy J. & Jat, M.L., 2018. "Climate smart agriculture, farm household typologies and food security," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 57-68.
    9. Sreejith Aravindakshan & Frederick Rossi & T. S. Amjath-Babu & Prakashan Chellattan Veettil & Timothy J. Krupnik, 2018. "Application of a bias-corrected meta-frontier approach and an endogenous switching regression to analyze the technical efficiency of conservation tillage for wheat in South Asia," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 153-171, June.

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