ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Problems and Prospects of Co-Operatives in Managing Degraded Lands-Case of Saline and Water-Logged Soils

The article identifies problems and prospects of community approach in the form of co-operatives in curing or preventing saline and water-logged soils in Haryana and Gujarat. The technology of subsurface drainage as a measure to control salinity and water-logging is technically and financially feasible. In the absence of an appropriate organisational set-up, the technology could not be widely adopted because its viability would be questionable. The management of saline and water-logged soils needs a community approach and collective vigilance. In this context, co-operatives may play a significant role. However, several factors will determine the success of drainage coroperatives. These are: (i) the problem of free-riders, (ii) disparity in benefits from drainage, (iii) varia- lion in assets, caste and religion of members, (iv) participation of beneficiaries, (v) conflicting objectives between headand tail-enders, and (vi) perception of the programme objectives. The participation score in managing saline and water-logged soils was found higher amongst poor farmers. Differential persuasion and education strategies may bring about the necessary participation to facilitate managing problem soils through co-operatives.

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