The semiarid tropics (SAT) extends over 2.1 billion ha and supports a large population. Ninety percent of the area and 99 % of the population are located in developing countries. Currently crop yield is low throughout the non-irrigated area of the semiarid tropics. Substantial increase in productivity is needed in the future to sustain population increase. India contains about 56 % of the SAT population on about 19 % of semiarid tropics. The area is predominantly marked by vertisols which are known to possess the best potential for increasing manifold. Though India has made significant stride in food production in the recent past, major emphasis was given on irrigated and resource-rich situations. However, in rainfed areas, the marginal farmers are still practicing the traditional way of farming and struggling below the poverty line. Therefore, this trend needs to be discouraged. Virtually, a sizable area (171 m ha) in our country is categorized as degraded lands. Such lands which are subjected to problems of water and wind erosion, salinity, alkalinity, acidity, water logging, gullied and ravine lands, shifting cultivation, etc. are either lying vacant or underutilized. Although these lands have their own biophysical farming constraints, they can be utilized efficiently on sustained basis for fulfilling the basic needs of food, fruit, fuel, fodder, fiber, fertilizer, etc. through horticulture-based farming systems by adopting practically feasible, economically viable, and eco-friendly technologies developed in the recent past.
KeywordsSoil Erosion Wind Erosion Degraded Land Sustained Basis Marginal Farmer
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