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Participatory Rural Appraisal in Drylands:A Holistic Approach for Getting Insight into an Agro-Ecosystem Analysis
Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) is an effective tool to understand the technology adoption profile in a cropping system, to get first-hand information about their needs, resources available, identify location-specific problems and researchable issues and ultimately to come up with tangible possible solutions drawn as an action plan. The present study was undertaken in Zamistapur (16.69N, 77.95E), Chowdarpally (16.71N, 77.94E), Telugu Gudem (16.68N, 77.94E) and Kodur Thanda (16.68N, 77.93E) villages of Mahabubnagar district, Telangana State. The PRA tools used include transect walk, agro-ecological mapping, social mapping, seasonal calendar, gender analysis, livelihood analysis, technology mapping, consequence diagram, problem-solving tree, etc. The major constraints identified were frequent droughts, soil salinity, water scarcity/groundwater availability at high depth, drinking water quality, erratic electricity supply, non-availability of labourers for agricultural activities, lack of quality germplasm of livestock, wild boar damage to crops, etc. Based on the problems identified, suitable solutions were arrived in consultation with subject matter experts and progressive farmers. There is need to address the problem of water scarcity, frequent droughts, insect and pest problems by the use of integrated watershed development, resource prioritisation and utilisation efficiency, use of IPM technologies, capacity building of farmers about relevant technologies, etc. This would certainly result in upliftment of the social status of the people as well as overall development of agriculture and rural livelihood as a whole. The researchable issues focused on the means to develop soil and water conservation plan trials on different cropping patterns/systems including rice/sorghum as main crop and short duration pulse and other vegetables so as to break the mono-cropping of rice and sorghum. Moreover, suitable extension programmes may be formulated and implemented with a problem solving approach considering the local resources and skill available within the farming community.
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