• Three out of five farmers in India grow their crops using rainwater, instead of irrigation.
• There has been “negligence” toward rainfed areas which is leading to lower incomes for farmers in these areas.
• Lands irrigated through big dams and canal networks get a per hectare investment of ₹5 lakh. Watershed management spending in rainfed lands is only ₹18,000-25,000
• Farmers in rainfed areas are receiving 40% less of their income from agriculture in comparison to those in irrigated areas.
• Flagship government schemes, such as seed and fertiliser subsidies and soil health cards, are designed for irrigated areas and simply extended to rainfed farmers without taking their needs into consideration.
• For example, many hybrid seeds notified by the government scheme need plenty of water, fertiliser and pesticides to give high yields and are thus not useful to most rainfed farmers. Commercial fertilisers will simply burn out the soil without sufficient water.
• A more balanced approach was needed, to give rainfed farmers the same research and technology focus, and production support that their counterparts in irrigation areas have received over the last few decades.
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