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Changes in dry land agriculture in the semi-arid tropics of India, 1975-2004


  • K. P. C. Rao


This paper examines the changes in dry land agriculture between 1975 and 2004, drawing both from macro-level data as well as the Village Level Studies (VLS) data of ICRISAT from six villages in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The long-term panel data facilitate an in-depth analysis of cropping patterns, productivity levels, costs and returns of crop enterprises over time. The contrasting findings about increasing asset prices and declining returns to land and management puzzle the analysts. Equally implausible are the non-viability of agricultural enterprises on one hand and increasing incomes and living standards of the farm house holds on the other. Yet the SAT areas record highest incidence of poverty among the different agro-climatic regions of India. There is a clear dividing line between dry land agriculture and irrigated agriculture in terms of productivity levels, viability, indebtedness and poverty incidence. The government has come out with relief packages for farmers and employment guarantee programmes for the agricultural labourers in these areas. Besides such temporary palliatives, long-term policy biases which caused them need to be set right to make dry land agriculture in the SAT areas viable and competitive.

Suggested Citation

  • K. P. C. Rao, 2008. "Changes in dry land agriculture in the semi-arid tropics of India, 1975-2004," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 20(4), pages 562-578.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurjdr:v:20:y:2008:i:4:p:562-578
    DOI: 10.1080/09578810802469366

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