Importance of Rainfed Agriculture

Importance of Rainfed Agriculture

Out of total cultivated area of around 140.30 million hectares in India, only 60.86 million ha. is irrigated and the remaining 79.44 million ha. is rainfed. Rainfed crops account for 48 per cent area under food crops and 68 per cent of the area under non-food crops. Rainfed areas are generally endowed with fragile resource base and low productivity.

Majority of the inhabitants are resource-poor and are obliged to eke out an existence in harsh biophysical and socio-economic environments. They are subjected to climate change through extreme weather events, a decrease of water availability and a decrease in agricultural productivity. The problem to be addressed is the limited access to and exchange of, information and knowledge related to agriculture and food security at local, national, and regional levels.

The productivity improvements in rainfed areas shall be achieved through the adoption of established technologies by farmers. This can be done by supporting the efforts of researchers, extensionists and farmers working in rainfed areas through increased knowledge exchange and sharing (CRIDA, 2007 and 2009).


Adoption of Rainfed Technologies

Adoption is, “the mental process an individual passes from first hearing about an innovation to final adoption” (Rogers, 1962). It is always an individual decision process. Information and learning are argued to be central to the adoption process. Among other factors, whether to adopt a technology or not depends on the profitability of the technology, farmer education/learning, and other observed and unobserved differences among farmers and across farming systems (Suri, 2009). Risk aversion discourages adoption, as uncertainty, will always be greater for the new technology than for the old (Marra et al., 2003).

Risk is a major factor limiting the adoption of new innovations (Lindner et al., 1982; Lindner, 1987; Tsur et al., 1990; Leathers and Smale, 1992; and Feder and Umali, 1993). For a new technology to be successful, extension efforts and training /trailing of the technology need to be in place, and the needed inputs must be procured. Designing technologies that can be implemented by households with labour and land constraints, is a continued need for extension programmes (Jones, 2005). Extension, promotion and marketing programmes by government workers and/or the private sector can be positively related to adoption (e.g. Marsh et al., 2000; Llewellyn et al., 2003).

Reasons for non-adoption of dryland agricultural technologies were discussed at length and are irregular and inadequate rains, inadequate finance, non-availability of inputs, lack of improved implements, high cost and
complexity of certain practices and lack of guidance (Wasnik, 1988; Farooque, 1990). Age, farming experience was found to be non-significant; while education, annual income was positively significant with the adoption of
a package of improved agricultural practices of dryland farmers in the Bellary district of Karnataka (Padmaiah et al., 1992). Farm size was positively significant with the adoption of recommended dryland agricultural technologies of dryland farmers in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra (Dakhore et al., 1993).



The present study identifies the successful and adopted rainfed technologies of CRIDA along with the feedback from farmers. A detailed assessment has been made in this study about the extent of adoption/ non-adoption of rainfed technologies and the factors responsible for adoption/ non-adoption. Adoption index was computed for assessing the extent of technology adoption. Strategies for the improved adoption of technologies for livelihood improvement have been suggested.

Based on a field survey and interview carried out with 120 rainfed farmers’ in Nallavelli and Manmarri villages (60 each) of Institute Village Linkage Program (IVLP) representing alfisols and vertisols respectively (IVLP project was launched under the auspices of the National Agricultural Technology Project). IVLP was operational during the period 1999-2004. Assessment and refinement of appropriate rainfed technologies for risk-prone and low-income categories of farmers on the participatory mode in the different micro-farming situation is the main focal point of the programme.

Rainfed technologies can contribute to the economic, social and environmental development of farming communities, improving their livelihoods and sustainability. Hence, the farmers in the above villages were exposed to CRIDA rainfed technologies for five years and later tested in this study for their adoption rates.

These villages come under Rangareddy district of Andhra Pradesh state of South India. Rangareddy district is characterized by a semi-arid climate, receiving mean annual rainfall of 820 mm. Data inputs were collected using a structured and pre-tested interview schedule containing both closed-end and open-ended questions. Focused group discussion and interviews were conducted in the villages to elicit data from farmers and examined for their accuracy. Frequency and Percent analysis were used for analysis of data of each village and soil type.

Adoption was derived by assigning scores of 0, 1, and 2 for non, partial and full adoption of technologies respectively. In Nallavelli (alfisols), total rainfed technologies listed (recommended) were 20 and hence maximum adoption score that can be obtained is 40, while minimum adoption score that can be obtained by a farmer is 0. In Manmarri (vertisols), total rainfed technologies listed were 16 and hence the maximum adoption score that can be obtained is 32, while the minimum adoption score that can be obtained by a farmer is 0. Adoption indices were computed for assessing the technology adoption.

Correlation and regression coefficients were computed to find the nature of the relationship between different socioeconomic variables like age, education, family size, farming experience, farm size, income and adoption. The socio-economic variables for the present study had been selected after an extensive review of the literature and after examining their relevance, and in consultation with experts and various sources of information.


Results and Discussion

Sorghum + pigeon pea and castor are the important crops grown in alfisol areas, while maize and cotton are predominant crops in vertisol areas of the study during Kharif. Chickpea and safflower are the major crops grown during rabi and summer in both alfisols and vertisols. Among other enterprises, dairying is an important supplementary income generation activity seen in most of the families owning land. Sheep and goat rearing are also important enterprises for 10% of the families in the two villages studied.




  • Centrial institue of dryland agriculture
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