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

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Lessons in Drought Resilience


This is in response to “Improving the Drought Resilience of the Small Farmer Agroecosystem” by Pranab Ranjan Choudhury and Sumitha Sindhi (EPW, 12 August 2017). Based on two decades of fieldwork in semi-arid, subhumid parts of the Eastern Ghats in Tamil Nadu, Odisha, and Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, I would like to share some observations that are relevant for our understanding of drought resilience, and to flag some of the changed social, economic and ecological environment on the ground.

Farmers in many rain-fed areas, who were earlier essentially food-producing subsistence farmers, have commercialised their agroecosystems in terms of cash crops like cassava or groundnut on a large-scale depending on local conditions. Expanded road connectivity to large urban and industrial complexes has made this possible. In some locations, farmers have simplified their complex risk-spreading agroecosystems to single crops or varieties to suit the changed labour, input, subsidy regimes, and capital infusion.

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Updated On : 15th Sep, 2017
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