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Sustainable development of rainfed agriculture in India:


  • Kerr, John M.


India's agricultural growth has been sufficient to move the country from severe food crises of the 1960s to aggregate food surpluses today. Most of the increase in agricultural output over the years has taken place under irrigated conditions. The opportunities for continued expansion of irrigated area are limited, however, so Indian planners increasingly are looking to rainfed, or unirrigated agriculture to help meet the rising demand for food projected over the next several decades. Given that rainfed agriculture should receive greater emphasis in public investments, a key issue is how much investment should be allocated among different types of rainfed agriculture. This paper addresses a wide variety of issues related to rainfed agricultural development in India. It examines the historical record of agricultural productivity growth in different parts of the country under irrigated and rainfed conditions, and it reviews the evidence regarding agricultural technology development and adoption, natural resource management, poverty alleviation, risk management, and policy and institutional reform. It presents background information on all of these topics, offering some preliminary conclusions and recommending areas where further research is needed. The analysis of agricultural productivity growth is based on district level data covering the Indo-Gangetic plains and peninsular India from 1956 to 1990.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerr, John M., 1996. "Sustainable development of rainfed agriculture in India:," EPTD discussion papers 20, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Desai, Gunvant M., 1982. "Sustaining rapid growth in India's fertilizer consumption: a perspective based on composition of use," Research reports 31, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    6. McGuirk, Anya & Mundlak, Yair, 1991. "Incentives and constraints in the transformation of Punjab agriculture:," Research reports 87, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Ravallion, Martin & Datt, Gaurav & Chaudhuri, Shubham, 1991. "Higher wages for relief work can make many of the poor worse off : recent evidence from Maharashtra's"Employment Guarantee Scheme"," Policy Research Working Paper Series 568, The World Bank.
    8. Jodha, N.S., 1992. "Common Property Resources; A Missing Dimension of development Strategies," World Bank - Discussion Papers 168, World Bank.
    9. Rosegrant, Mark W. & Evenson, Robert E., 1995. "Total factor productivity and sources of long-term growth in Indian agriculture:," EPTD discussion papers 7, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    10. Pender, John L. & Kerr, John M., 1996. "Determinants of farmers' indigenous soil and water conservation investments in India's semi-arid tropics:," EPTD discussion papers 17, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    11. Byerlee, Derek, 1992. "Dryland Wheat in India: The Impact of Technical Change and Future Research Challenges," Economics Working Papers 232452, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    12. Ravaillon, Martin & Datt, Gaurav, 1994. "How important to India's poor is the urban - rural composition of growth?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1399, The World Bank.
    13. Peter B. R. Hazell, 1984. "Sources of Increased Instability in Indian and U.S. Cereal Production," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 66(3), pages 302-311.
    14. Pray, Carl E. & Ribeiro, Sharmila & Mueller, Rolf A. E. & Rao, P. Parthasarathy, 1991. "Private research and public benefit: The private seed industry for sorghum and pearl millet in India," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 315-324, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gopal Datt Bhatta & Pramod Kumar Aggarwal & Amit Kumar Shrivastava & Lindsay Sproule, 2016. "Is rainfall gradient a factor of livelihood diversification? Empirical evidence from around climatic hotspots in Indo-Gangetic Plains," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(6), pages 1657-1678, December.
    2. Sharma, Bharat R. & Rao, K.V. & Vittal, K.P.R. & Ramakrishna, Y.S. & Amarasinghe, U., 2010. "Estimating the potential of rainfed agriculture in India: Prospects for water productivity improvements," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 23-30, January.
    3. Alsop, Ruth, 1998. "Coalitions and the organization of multiple-stakeholder action: a case study of agricultural research and extension in Rajasthan, India," EPTD discussion papers 34, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. B. Suresh Reddy, 2015. "Soil Health: Issues and Concerns - A Review," Working Papers id:7599, eSocialSciences.
    5. Fan, Shenggen & Hazell, P. B. R., 1997. "Should India invest more in less-favored areas?:," EPTD discussion papers 25, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


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