by Paris T.1, Saha S.2, Singh D.P.2, Mahata K.R.2, Delos Reyes-Cueno A.1, Zolvinski S.1, and Ismail A.M1 in CAB International 2010. Tropical Deltas and Coastal Zones: Food Production, 320 Communities and Environment at the Land–Water Interface (eds C.T. Hoanh et al.)
1International Rice Research Institute
2Central Rice Research Institute
The coastal saline ecosystem in Orissa State of eastern India extends from the shore of the Bay of Bengal to about 15 km inland. Salinity occurs because of the intrusion of seawater during high tides through surface channels, creeks, and rivers, particularly during the dry season, but decreases with freshwater flushing in the wet season. Salinity reaches its highest during April to May due to the increase in temperature from February onward, with a consequent increase in evapotranspiration and salt accumulation on surface soils. Because of poor pre-monsoon showers during April to May in some years, soil salinity still persists and can seriously affect crop establishment in early June. Moreover, a shortage of irrigation water limits the cultivation of dry-season rice and other non-rice crops. This study attempts to develop a systematic understanding of target environments and the livelihood of people in these areas as bases for exploring opportunities for improving land and water productivity as well as farmers’ livelihood through varietal improvement and proper crop management practices.
Baseline social (including gender analysis) and economic surveys using a pre-tested structured questionnaire of 50 households were conducted in six villages in Jagatsinghpur District to assess the socioeconomic characteristics of the farming households, indigenous knowledge and farming practices, gender roles, use of rice varieties on different land types, share of rice and other sources of income in livelihood systems, and profitability of current rice cultivation practices and inputs. Through focus group discussions, farmers identified their problems, prioritized their needs, and matched them with opportunities to improve their livelihood. Farmers gave positive feedback on participatory experiments involving salt-tolerant rice varieties and associated crop and water management technologies conducted in their fields, for both wet and dry seasons. Improved varieties had at least twice the yields of traditional varieties that yield less than 1.5 t/ha. Sunflower is well accepted as a rotation crop after rice. With the new varieties, farmers feel more secure the at they will have a continuous supply of rice for a year instead of four to nine months before the project began. Several lessons were learned from this research: (i) the need for a strong interaction between biological and social scientists in problem-oriented research; (ii) the use of community participatory approaches in the design, validation, and dissemination of technologies; (iii) the need to enhance the capacities of both men and women farmers in rice production technologies and improved seed management; (iv) a need to anticipate and address constraints to the widespread adoption of rice and rice-based technologies; (v) inclusion of both men and women farmers in evaluating new salt-tolerant varieties; (vi) expansion of sunflower production as a suitable crop for saline areas, after rice; and (vii) a need to evaluate additional crops adapted to these saline areas and that have a high market value.
Read the paper here (in pdf).