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New books – SRI: A scaling up success

Greening Rural Development in India / The quiet revolution in staple food value chains / Water Management, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Developing Economies / System of Crop Intensification in Greengram / Impact of the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) / SRI – Transforming Rice Production with SRI (System of Rice Intensification) Knowledge and Practice

Greening Rural Development in India

UNDP India, 2012

For the people in rural areas, particularly the marginalized communities, healthy ecosystems support sustainable agriculture-based livelihoods and essential services such as drinking water, sanitation and health care. Investing in natural resources also strengthens adaptation and resilience of communities towards climate change and natural disasters.

This report examines the potential contribution to environmental sustainability of the schemes administered by the Ministry. In specific it looks at:

  • Improving quality and carrying of eco systems including, water in surface bodies, aquifers and soil profile and arresting degradation of natural resource
  • Enabling sustainable livelihoods, based on sustainable use of natural resource
  • Strengthening ecosystem resilience to enable them to recover from extreme weather events and cope with climate change
  • Reducing the ecological footprint of interventions through efficient use of energy, material, natural resources and increased use of renewables materials

The report recommends measures needed to achieve green, including measuring and tracking, the use incentives and the building of capacities. It also contains a number of case studies showing how green results can be achieved.

The quiet revolution in staple food value chains – Enter the dragon, the elephant, and the tiger

Book cover: The quiet revolution in staple food value chains

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2012. ISBN: 978-92-9092-910-9 (Print), 978-92-9092-911-6 (PDF)

Major changes have been occurring almost unnoticed in staple value chains in Asia. The Quiet Revolution in Staple Food Value Chains documents and explains the transformation of value chains moving rice and potatoes between the farm gate and the consumer in Bangladesh, the People’s Republic of China, and India. The changes noted are the rapid rise of supermarkets, modern cold storage facilities, large rice mills, and commercialized small farmers using input-intensive, mechanized technologies.

These changes affect food security in ways that are highly relevant for policymakers across Asia – the rise of supermarkets provides cheaper staples, more direct relations in the chains combined with branding have increased traceability, and the rise of cold storage has brought higher incomes for potato farmers and all-season access for potato consumers. The book also joins two debates that have long been separate and parallel – food industry and agribusiness development and market competitiveness – with the food security and poverty alleviation agenda.

Water Management, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Developing Economies

M. Dinesh Kumar, M.V.K. Sivamohan, Nitin Bassi (Eds), 2012, Routledge, 236 p.

This book addresses strategies for food security and sustainable agriculture in developing economies. The book focuses primarily on India, a fast developing economy, whose natural resource base comprising land and water supporting agricultural production is not only under enormous stress, but also complex and not amenable to a uniform strategy. It critically reviews issues which continue to dominate the debate on water management for agricultural and food production.

The book examines the validity of the claim that large water resources projects cause serious social and environmental damages using global and national datasets. The authors examine claims that the future of Indian agriculture is in rain-fed farming supported by small water harvesting.

They question whether water-abundant eastern India could become the granary of India, through a groundwater revolution with the right policy inputs. In the process, they look at the less researched aspect of the food security challenge, which is land scarcity in eastern India. The book analyzes the physical, economic and social impacts of large-scale adoption of micro irrigation systems, using a farming system approach for north Gujarat. Through an economic valuation of the multiple use benefits from tank systems in western Orissa, it shows how value of water from large public irrigation systems could be enhanced.