Green revolution made the country self-sufficient in food but it bypassed the dryland areas, which have become the hot spots of poverty, hunger, malnutrition, water scarcity and land degradation. In India, 60% of total cultivated area is rainfed, which
is dependent on rainfall, having no facility for protective or life-saving irrigation. Rainfed areas meet 40% of India’s food demands and support 60% of total livestock population. Agricultural productivity in rainfed areas has
remained low and unstable due to vulnerability to the vagaries of weather, degraded soils and continuing poverty of farmers, who are mostly small and marginal. Even if India were to achieve its full irrigation potential, approximately
half of the cultivable area of 142 million hectares will still remain largely dependent on rainfall. It is also estimated that, by 2040, of an expected population of 1.5 billion, 500 million will live in rain-fed areas. In India,
ensuring sustainability of rain-fed agriculture is therefore critical, more so in the scenario of climate change and the vulnerability of populations living in these areas.
Karnataka is a predominantly agrarian state wherein nearly 66% of the cultivated area is under rain-fed farming. The scope for increasing irrigation potential in the state is limited in view of its geographical position as an upper riparian State. A close
analysis of rainfall pattern of the state indicates that 3 to 4 years in every decade face severe drought, sometimes consecutively. The drought frequency and vulnerability is increasing rapidly in the state. Out of 24 drought
vulnerable districts in the country, 16 fall in Karnataka. Rainfall management to minimize runoff is essential for sustainability in the state.
Indian agriculture achieved near self sufficiency in primary agriculture (grains, sugar cane, fruits, vegetables and milk etc.) must now focus attention on secondary agriculture. The secondary agriculture provides value
addition to agricultural products, creating facilities for primary processing and stress management in agriculture and adds value to the basic agro commodities to allow farmers to get better returns from their harvest. It also
creates a new job in the rural sector to grow rural economy which is entirely based on agriculture. Secondary agriculture can reverse this trend and add two to three-fold value to primary agriculture. Efficiency of harvested
runoff under dryland situation can be enhanced through protective cultivation and secondary agriculture.
Protected cultivation with low water requiring medicinal and aromatic crops, their value addition improves livelihood, besides providing an opportunity for PG scholars to acquaint the skills of chemo-profiling and standardization of crude drugs essential
oils, natural pigments, fatty acids etc. The new generation technologies related to secondary agriculture namely smart and intelligent packaging, image processing technologies, non-thermal/non-chemical processing and sensor based
applications including bio indicators will provide an ample opportunities for skill development and enhancing the livelihood.
Considering all these, focus under this program is formulated to establish climate smart reduced runoff farming technologies integrating soil, water, nutrient and crop management in harnessing better crop yields.