A group of NGOs working with ICRISAT ("Winning the gray to green revolution"), seems to be transforming the lives of Indian farmers in an arid semi-tropic region with watershed planning and sustainable agricultural techniques:
"Using both existing and new technologies, ICRISAT employed low-cost soil and water conservation structures, environment-friendly nutrient management options, eco-friendly pest and disease control, crop diversification with legumes to avoid air and water (groundwater, streams and rivers) pollution, on-farm income-generation through innovative crops and cropping systems, off-season/off-farm income-generation for landless labourers, women and youth.
"The results were direct and immediate. Groundwater levels improved by five-six metres, green cover increased from 129 ha in 1996, to 200 ha in 2000. Productivity more than doubled. Between 1998 and 2001, maize production increased from 1,500 to 3,300 kg/ha, and sorghum from 1,070 to 2,600 kg/ha. Incomes jumped too, as total incomes increased to Rs 20,500/ha with profits up to Rs 14,600/ha."
(photo from the White Room)