Experts: Best regions to use drip irrigation and get value

A drip irrigates about four litres per crop in an hour. [Jacinta Mutura, Standard]

A new tool to assist farmers select the best climate smart agricultural technologies suitable for their various crops and regions has been developed.

Researchers from the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) developed the tool, which suggests the most effective technology suitable for a specific crop and region.

For instance, the findings revealed that drip irrigation and farm pond technologies might be highly profitable and weather-resilient but not equally effective across crops and regions.

Farm pond technology was found to be most effective for the cultivation of high-value crops like mango and tomato. Drip irrigation technology proved to be more effective for cotton and groundnut cultivation under extreme weather conditions.

"Without such information, the investment allocation for climate-resilient technologies is less likely to reach its full potential," said Dr Shalander Kumar, one of the lead researchers.

The researchers noted that climate-induced risks to farmers' income can be reduced by up to 25 per cent when context-specific climate-smart agriculture technologies are implemented.

Dr Kumar says the present model has evaluated six climate smart agricultural technologies for one state in India, but the same model can be extended to more states and other countries to evaluate their climate-smart investment strategies in the long run. Erratic weather, failed rains and changing seasons across the world has affected crop and livestock production calling for newer better faming methods that are climate resilient, according to the research.

"This study fills the critical knowledge gap by developing a planning tool which helps policymakers to make informed decisions on the allocation of budget for climate-resilient technologies across various crops and regions," he added.

The researchers used a five-year dataset from 2010-2014 on the cost of cultivation and crop production of 11 crops under six climate smart agricultural technologies and farmers' traditional practices.

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