Drought management, Agricultural productivity, Rice, and Estimates
Drought events have critical impacts on agricultural production yet there is little consensus on how these should be measured and defined, with implications for drought research and policy. We develop a flexible rainfall-temperature drought index that captures all dry events and we classify these as Type 1 (above-average cooling degree days) and Type 2 droughts (below-average cooling degree days). Applied to a panel dataset of Indian districts over 1966–2009, Type 2 droughts are found to have negative marginal impacts comparable to those of Type 1 droughts. Irrigation more effectively reduces Type 2 drought-induced yield losses than Type 1 yield losses. Over time, Type 1 drought losses have declined while Type 2 losses have risen. Estimates of average yield losses due to Type 1 droughts are reduced by up to 27 per cent when Type 2 droughts are omitted. The associated ex-post economic costs in terms of rice production are underestimated by up to 124 per cent. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Agricultural policy, Local foods, Agricultural productivity, Farm management, Precision farming, Farm size, Twenty-first century, and Vegetable farming
Nearly two decades into the 21st century, we revisit the topic of changes in the US agricultural system. We focus on trends in structure, technology and policy, and on the increasing influence of consumer preferences on this system, particularly for organic agriculture and local and regional foods. We examine technological innovations in the 21st century, including biotechnology, precision agriculture and indoor farming. Within overall trends toward consolidation, we identify an increasing number of vegetable farms and greenhouse operations, accompanied by a decrease in average size of those operations. We note the shift away from price support toward greater reliance on risk management in farm policy, and also track the impact of food movement trends on recent farm bills. While farm bill policies continue to focus on conventional field crop agriculture, some trends—expanded crop insurance, conservation program support and spending on federal data collection, research and community-based grants, for example—have begun to incorporate the growing movement toward organic, local and regional food systems into the mainstream of US agricultural production and policy. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
Agriculture and state, Agriculture--Economic aspects, and Agricultural productivity
To lift and keep millions out of poverty requires that smallholder agriculture be productive and profitable in the developing world. Do we know how to make this happen? Researchers and practitioners still debate how best to do so. The prevailing methodology, which claims causality from measures of statistical significance, is inductive and yields contradictory results. In this book, instead of correlations, Isabelle Tsakok looks for patterns common to cases of successful agricultural transformation and then tests them against other cases. She proposes a hypothesis that five sets of conditions are necessary to achieve success. She concludes that government investment in and delivery of public goods and services sustained over decades is essential to maintaining these conditions and thus successfully transform poverty-ridden agricultures. No amount of foreign aid can substitute for such sustained government commitment. The single most important threat to such government commitment is subservience to the rich and powerful minority.
BAMBARA groundnut, AGRICULTURAL productivity, SEEDS, COMMUNITY banks, EXPERIENTIAL learning, PEANUTS, and BIODIVERSITY
Fonio (Digitaria exilis (Kippist) Stapf) and Bambara groundnut (Vigna subterranea (L.) Verdc.) are native crops grown at a small scale in Mali that have potential to support agricultural productivity under climate change. A community biodiversity management approach was explored in this study as a means to reinforce the cultivation of these crops by increasing farmers' access to intraspecific diversity and developing capacities of community institutions for their management. The research involved six communities in Ségou and Sikasso regions. Multiple varieties of fonio (10–12) and Bambara groundnut (8–12) were established in diversity fields in each site over 2 years where farmers engaged in experiential learning over the crop cycle. Significant adoption of fonio and Bambara groundnut was detected in several study sites. The precise drivers of adoption cannot be definitively determined but likely include increased seed access and awareness gained through the diversity field fora, seed fairs and community seed banks. No significant yield advantage was detected for any of the varieties in the diversity fields, which showed variable performance by site and year. The number of varieties registered and managed by community seed banks in each site increased from 1–5 varieties of each crop to 11–12 varieties following the interventions. The number of Bambara groundnut varieties cultivated in farmers' fields also increased, while there was evidence of a slight decline in fonio diversity in some communities. The results of this study can inform efforts to strengthen seed systems and cultivation of neglected and underutilized species in Africa. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]