The Role of Millets in Climate Risk Reduction: Evidence from Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh
Author: Harry W. Fischer, N.L. Narasimha Reddy and M.L. Sanyasi Rao, ResRA – RRA Network Working Paper | June 2016
Amidst growing concerns about the threats posed by climate change for rural livelihoods, policy makers have given increasing attention to the need for more climate secure agriculture. This paper explores the challenges and opportunities of encouraging the cultivation of millets, a class of coarse grain cereals that are both water efficient and drought resistant that are prominent in rainfed regions of the developing world. Based on a qualitative study in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, India, we explore how millets factor into households’ production strategies and their role as a risk response strategy. Millets, we found, play an important role in mitigating households’ exposure to climate risk, both by diversifying production portfolios and as a contingency crop to confront delayed rains at planting time. Nonetheless, there remain important limitations in the viability of millets due to their low income generating capacity. To have a more significant impact on welfare and sustainability, policy needs to address the structural conditions of vulnerability that limit the viability of more secure livelihoods. We explore some of the ways that state intervention can make millets more viable by enhancing their terms of marketability and providing other kinds of support.
Small Farm Specialisation and Risk in Indian Agriculture
Author: Ashwini Chhatre and Lalmani Pandey, ResRA – RRA Network Working Paper | June 2016
This paper highlights three important issues that aggravate the problems of small holder agriculture and their financial risks in India. These are allocation of land towards non-food commodity crops, sources of finance and indebtedness, and labour market and employment pattern. Fragmentation of land holdings reaches to a point where small holder agriculture leads way towards specialization and resource allocation towards capital intensive non-food commodity crops. Resource poor farm households with less than 1 hectares of land allocate more than 3/4th of their land to single crops like cotton and soybean. Dominance of a single commodity crops exposes small holder farm households to greater farm financial risk beyond their capacity and increase their food security concern. These farms acquire more than 60% of their credit needs from non-institutional finance sources. In addition, for more than 50% of these farming households, wages and labour is the major source of income and employment. Poor access to institutional finances and inadequate non-farm employment opportunities and income sources limit their capacity to withstand risks leading to indebtedness. Therefore, it is critical that the access to institutional credit and promotion of rural non-farm employment opportunities are improved to relieve farmers from indebtedness and distress. Further, development and promotion of low cost sustainable technologies is imperative to reinvigorate and revitalize small holder agriculture.