कृषि प्रौद्योगिकी अनुप्रयोग अनुसंधान संस्थान
Agricultural Technology
Application Research Institute

(ISO 9001:2015)

Crop diversification for livelihood security and resilience to climate variability

Climate vulnerability: Drought/heat wave, frost/cold wave and floods

Existing practice

In scarce rainfall zones of India, practice of sole cropping is predominant but is risky and often results in low yields or sometimes even in crop failure due to erratic monsoon rainfall and skewed distribution. In such areas intercropping is a feasible option to minimize risk in crop production, ensure reasonable returns at least from the intercrop and also improve soil fertility with a legume intercrop. Cotton, soybean, pigeonpea and millets are the major crops in the scarce rainfall zones. Intercropping of these crops is more profitable and is a key drought coping strategy.

Resilient practice/ technology

Pigeonpea, cotton, sunflower and sorghum are the main crops cultivated in NICRA village in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh which are affected due to late onset of monsoon followed by dry spell at critical crop growth stages. Intercropping of Setaria (foxtail millet, SIA-3085 variety) with pigeonpea (5:1 ratio) sown in July showed that the intercropping system was more profitable with highest benefit cost ratio in all the 3 years despite prolonged dry spell of up to 25 days in 2012.

Impact of crop diversification

Farmers in Yagantepalli village, Kurnool district took up sole and intercrops of Setaria and pigeonpea for 3 years in this predominantly rainfed village (70%). Performance of the intercropping system of Setaria + pigeonpea (5:1) gave the highest benefit cost ratio ranging from 1.7 to 3.1 compared to the sole crops of Setaria and pigeonpea (1.5 to 2.6).

District/State Treatment Grain yield (Kg/ha) Cost of cultivation (Rs/ha) Gross income (Rs/ha) Net income (Rs/ha) BC ratio
Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh Sole Setaria 1562 15973 23430 7457 1.5
Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh Sole pigeonpea 785 20500 29830 9330 1.5
Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh Setaria + pigeonpea (5:1) 1731 22856 33900 11044 1.7

Intercropping of redgram+ foxtailmillet