Rice Production Sustainability and Livelihood Improvement in Rice Farmers of Fragile Environment in West Bengal, India.
Traditionally farmers in fragile environment cope or avoid stresses with age old management practices (known as indigenous technologies) which involves traditional varieties, establishment period adjustment and other agronomic manipulation. Resulting low productivity and negative impact on livelihood. Agriculture is sustainable when current and future food demands are met with out unnecessarily compromising economic,ecological and social/political needs. Recent genetical manipulation in rice for stress tolerance increased sustainability of production with utilizing minimum natural resources and social and political destabilization.
Farmers often adopt risk prone unsustainable agriculture for economic improvement , classic example is high input and resource consuming potato and boro (dry season)rice cropping in West Bengal. A ten year time period data revealed production of both the crops registered less than average in half the years . But higher productivity and market price supports livelihood improvement reflected by rapid increase in Potato area and Boro rice coverage in irrigated area.
The present study concludes that new generation genetically manipulated rice bestowed rice agriculture more sustainable with higher production and profitability in fragile environment replacing indigenous technologies.