A check dam in Parasai-Sindh watershed in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. Photo: Ramesh Singh, CAFRI

FAO acknowledges ICRISAT’s contributions to key report on overcoming water challenges in agriculture

A check dam in Parasai-Sindh watershed in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. Photo: Ramesh Singh, CAFRI

A check dam in Parasai-Sindh watershed in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh. Photo: Ramesh Singh, CAFRI

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has acknowledged ICRISAT scientists Drs Kaushal K Garg, KH Anantha, Sreenath Dixit and Anthony Whitbread for their contributions to the 2020 edition of its annual flagship publication, The State of Food and Agriculture. The edition was dedicated to overcoming water challenges in agriculture.

For the publication, the ICRISAT team contributed a background report on strengthening resilience through water management in rain-fed agriculture systems. Case studies from India and Ethiopia were also submitted. ICRISAT’s contributions to the FAO publication were made in collaboration with Prof Jennie Barron of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

The India case study was of scaling up water management interventions in Bundelkhand region to transform it into a productive landscape for sustainable farm livelihoods. The interventions reduced run-off by 36% in the intervention area of Parasai-Sindh watershed in the region. Soil loss reduction of 62% was achieved. This increased groundwater recharge by 46% and crop productivity in the range of 10 to 70%.

Similarly, government-led sustainable land management programs for landscape rejuvenation in Ethiopian highlands were discussed in the Ethiopia case study. In the Yewol Mountains, for instance, a five-fold increase in irrigable land was recorded after the interventions took effect. Collaborations between Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture and national and international innovation and knowledge centers were crucial for the work in the highlands. Both government and non-government organizations supported transfer of technology and development of tools to scale it up.

The State of Food and Agriculture report also mentions interventions in Kothapally watershed in south India. ICRISAT has implemented several interventions in this watershed area. The report states that these interventions reduced sediment loads in rivers and has had a positive impact on in-stream river ecology and lifespan of reservoirs.

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