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Sustainability of diversified farms in Tambiraparani River command area, southern India

Research reports

India’s efforts to increase food grain production have been achieved through promoting large-scale crop intensification by extending the area under irrigation. The expansion of irrigation has resulted in several undesirable environmental consequences and there is a growing need for a shift in strategy to foster greater environmental sustainability and still meet the economic demands of small producers. A micro-level study was undertaken in one of the important river irrigation systems of Southern India – the Tambiraparani River command area – with the objective of assessing and comparing the sustainability of diversified and non-diversified rice-based farming systems under assured irrigation. Diversified farms included systems based on rice + dairy, and rice + banana + dairy, whilst non-diversified farms were those planted to rice only, and those planted to rice + banana. To measure the sustainability level of these four different wetland farming systems a sustainability index was developed through the use of indicators for economic viability and ecological soundness. Data were collected by personally interviewing farmers in 30 villages along the river.

R. K. Theodore, D. David Rajasekar, G. Selvaraj and D. Jawahar