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South Asia

Women will often walk for miles to get water in Rajasthan, a typical dryland state in India

Women will often walk for miles to get water in Rajasthan, a typical dryland state in India (Photo credit: ICRISAT/Prashant Panjiar)

About our work 

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland System in South Asia uses multi-disciplinary and systems approaches that build on indigenous coping and adaptation strategies to achieve enhanced resilient and sustainable intensification in dryland farming systems. The program works to enhance biomass productivity and systems resilience through appropriate integration of crops, tree and livestock and application of improved technologies, climate information, markets and value chain development, and natural resource management. Of particular focus is the development of modeling platforms (household, crop and livestock) to better understand temporal and spatial dynamics, in terms of trade offs, risks and opportunities.  The program specifically targets its interventions towards vulnerable groups (such as women and young people) in order to strengthen social equity through improved formal and informal institutions. On the other hand, the program focuses its efforts on enhancing access and delivery systems to ensure our research-in-development benefits reach the most marginalized communities while natural resources and participation in value chains are managed in a sustainable and equitable fashion.

Priority activities 

  1. To improve livelihoods and ecosystem services (centered around water) by identifying appropriate options for sustainable intensification of rainfed systems while considering contextual factors (such as the environment, farming system, farmer type, socio-economic issues, etc.)
  2. To understand the potential, limitations and tradeoffs for sustainably intensifying dryland systems.
  3. To define the effective strategies for scaling out and up:

- The best options for integrated agro-ecosystems focusing on resilience and intensification at field, farm and landscape levels.
- The enabling institutional mechanisms, enhance stakeholders’ capacity to innovate and strengthen value chains

Research projects 

Dryland Systems conducts four (4) major research-in-development projects in South Asia region.  These projects are:

  • Increasing agricultural productivity and incomes through bridging yield gaps with science-led interventions in Karnataka (Bhuchetana), 4 years (2013 to 2016)
  • Community based rangeland management and utilization potential of Opuntia ficus indica in low rainfall regions of India, 4 years (2014 to 2017)
  • Increasing food legume production by small farmers to strengthen food and nutritional security through adoption of improved technologies and governance within South-South cooperation: an India-Morocco Food Legumes Initiative (IMFLI), 5 years (October 2012 to Dec 2017)
  • Andhra Pradesh state government primary sector mission, 4 years (2015-2018)

For more information please contact the Shalander Kumar,  South Asia Flagship Coordinator at