This report by ICRISAT as a part of CGIAR Consortium Research Program on Dryland Systems deals with the way in which low amount and high variability of rainfall in South Asian dryland production systems have affected the livelihood of small and marginal households. A marginal change in the climate could challenge the livelihood resilience of millions of farmers and affect the healthy ecosystem function in South Asia. The overall emphasis of the research involves understanding the problem, identifying and demonstrating technologies and searching for mechanisms to promote the adoption of promising technologies. The overall objectives of the present study are to map the vulnerability at household level and examine the level of coping strategies adopted by them and to investigate the impact of different adaptation strategies in reducing the level of vulnerability in the South Asian dryland systems action sites. In South Asia, the program selected six districts (15 villages; 1019 farmers randomly selected; data collected for production year of 2011-12) in Andhra Pradesh (Anantapur and Kurnool), Karnataka (Bijapur) and Western Rajasthan (Jaisalmer, Barmer, and Jodhpur) as action sites.
The household vulnerability analysis was mainly based on the per-capita income of farmers (agriculture, livestock and off-farm) and associated socio-economic factors. For this study, household vulnerability was defined in terms of expected poverty, which is measured by the difference between the household (per-capita) income and the poverty line. The three-stage feasible generalized least squares procedure was applied, and the probability of a per capita income falling below the poverty line was worked out. Accordingly, four poverty transitions were computed.
- Transition 1: Those households whose present income is below the poverty line, and there is more than 50% probability that they will continue to be vulnerable in the next year also (vulnerable to vulnerable).
- Transition 2: Those households who are above the poverty line this year and have more than 50% probability to continue the same status in the next year also (less vulnerable to less vulnerable).
- Transition 3: Those households who are vulnerable now and have less than 50% chances to move from that status next year (vulnerable to less vulnerable).
- Transition 4: Those households who are less vulnerable now (that is, above poverty line) but have less than 50% chances to move from that status in the next year (less vulnerable to vulnerable).
The results indicated that in all the regions, the probability of vulnerable to vulnerable transition decreased when the landholding size increased. Given the current low level of adoption of improved technologies in the studied production systems, about 94% of the households in Andhra Pradesh, 62% in Karnataka and 87% in Rajasthan were vulnerable and the rest were under the less-vulnerable category. These vulnerable groups may move to the less-vulnerable groups if they adopt different strategies specific to their niches (regions, in this case) –
- In Andhra Pradesh, suitable technologies or strategy for small farmers include the combination of livestock, additional skill development interventions, change in Rs 111,616 per household with a marginal income of Rs 63,136 in pure rain-fed situations. The combination of livestock, additional skill development interventions, change in cropping pattern and providing supplemental irrigation with farm mechanization would be suitable for large farmers and can help them realize a net income of Rs 534,370 per household with a marginal income of Rs 252,284 in pure rain-fed situations.
- In Karnataka, the possession of livestock is remunerative for landless farmers as it can fetch a net income of Rs 37,519 per household. For marginal farmers, a combination of livestock, additional skill development interventions and change in cropping patterns seems to be a better strategy as it can fetch an annual household income of Rs 60,388 with a marginal income of Rs 20,970. Small farmers can get a higher income if they adopt a package of livestock, additional skill development interventions, change in cropping pattern, and improved crop production practices. They can get a household income of Rs 174,235 and a marginal income of Rs 30,452. Medium farmers can opt for owning livestock, additional skill development activities and improved crop production practices that can bring an annual household income of Rs 355,868 with a marginal income of Rs 54,817. Large farmers who own more than 4 hectares of land can obtain a maximum income of Rs 1,899,021 and a marginal income of Rs 429,657 if they adopt livestock, additional skill development activities, change in cropping pattern, and farm mechanization.
- In Rajasthan, owning livestock and farm mechanization seems to be the most suitable strategy for marginal farmers that can result in a maximum household income of Rs 49,541 and a marginal income of Rs 22,841. For maximum revenue, small farmers should own livestock, maintain poultry and goats apart from mechanization that can fetch an income of Rs 191,384 with a marginal income of Rs 71,172. The next suitable strategy for them will be to own livestock and provide supplementary irrigation that can earn an income of Rs 120,212 and a marginal income of Rs 13,417. Medium-size landholding farmers can drive a maximum income of Rs 238,045 with a marginal income of Rs 32,867 if they use livestock, own farm ponds and use farm mechanization. Large farmers can also use this strategy to get a maximum income of Rs 365,510 and a marginal income of Rs 214,273. The next suitable strategy for them will be possession of livestock, poultry and goats, and farm mechanization that can provide a household income of Rs 151,237 with a marginal income of Rs 18,357.
The results also indicate that several of the vulnerable households will continue to remain vulnerable even with the adaptation strategies due to their low per-capita income. This is highly seen in rain-fed conditions of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan. In addition, simulation analysis was done by increasing the poverty line to Rs 200/day in view of the increased demand for higher wages in the rural areas to meet the consumption requirements. The trends show that when the poverty level increases, more farmers will come under the vulnerable category if no adaptation strategies are followed. However, when the adaptation strategies are followed, less number of households will fall under the vulnerable category.
The determinants of the vulnerability analysis from the three states also helped in identifying the appropriate adaptation strategies for addressing the household vulnerability. Farm size, household size, educational levels, age of the household, and earnings from male and female members were found to affect vulnerability. More specifically, the livestock-related interventions, farm mechanization, and supplemental irrigation are expected to play a major role in addressing the household vulnerability as well as risk in technology adoption. Major policy implications include piloting of adaptation strategies that yield comparatively higher income than the pure rain-fed situations as observed in the study regions. Enhancing and diversifying the skills of farmers through capacity building programs (such as targeted trainings for specific activities like micro irrigation, farm pond design and use, handling of small farm machinery, fodder production, etc.), investment in farm ponds for providing supplementing irrigation, developing public private partnership in small farm machinery and micro irrigation development will help elevate the most vulnerable to less vulnerable situations. Quantification of risks in the adoption of the proposed strategies and advocating an appropriate insurance product can enhance the adoption level. Convergence of the government programs on dryland agriculture will help achieve efficient implementation of the combination of activities and thus, enable the progressive transition from vulnerable to less vulnerable.
Citation: Palanisami K, Kakumanu KR, Ranganathan CR, Haileslassie A and Wani SP. 2015. Mapping of household vulnerability and identification of adaptation strategies in dryland systems of South Asia. Patancheru 502 324, Telangana, India: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics. 60 pp.