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Water and Climate

Improving dry season agriculture for marginal and tenant farmers in the Eastern Gangetic Plains through conjunctive use of pond and groundwater resources

Project Code: LWR/2012/079
Budget:
A$2,510,502
Research Program Manager: Dr. Robyn Johnston
Project Leader: Erik Schmidt - University of Southern Queensland
Duration:
SEP 2014
JUN 2019
Project Status: Concluded
Key partners
Bangladesh Rice Research Institute
Centre for the Development of Human Initiatives
CSIRO Land and Water
Department of Irrigation
iDE
Indian Council of Agricultural Research
International Water Management Institute
National University of Singapore
Nepal Groundwater Resources Development Board
Sakhi
Uttar Banga Krishi Vishwavidyalaya

Overview

This project aimed to improve livelihoods for women, marginal and tenant farmers in the eastern Gangetic Plains through improving dry season irrigated agriculture.

The eastern Gangetic Plains, which include the Nepal Tarai, Bihar and West Bengal regions, is one of the most densely populated and poverty-stricken belts in South Asia. Behind this persistent poverty are deeply entrenched social structures of class and caste, with a high incidence of inequitable landlord-tenant relations. This is combined with poor access to irrigation water in the dry season, limited irrigation capacity, and low agricultural innovation.

Poverty is linked to access to water. Technical, social and economic constraints have limited the effective use of groundwater and ponds for irrigation, and large areas of land remain fallow during the dry months. Access to year-round water for irrigation would significantly promote the productivity of agriculture, improving incomes and food security.