Integrated agriculture enhances farm productivity and livelihoods in agro-biodiversity hotspots

April 29, 2016
Farm productivity and Livelihoods in Agro Biodiversity

Farmers in Tamil Nadu adopted locally-adapted cassava, boosting agro-biodiversity while enhancing yields and income.

In Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu, monocropping of a single, non-edible variety of cassava for the starch industry has resulted in increased disease prevalence, soil erosion, and a loss in local crop diversity, affecting food security and climate resilience.

In response, the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and the University of Alberta, Canada, have worked with farmers to identify high performing alternative cassava varieties, to test intercropping of cassava with food crops such as black beans and millet, and to organise high quality millet seed production through community seed banks.

Intercropping cassava with black beans resulted in a 23% increase in household income compared to cassava alone, and the establishment of community seed banks has led to the timely availability of quality seeds, minimizing the risk of crop failure and boosting crop productivity.

In Wayanad district, Kerala, farmers have been supported in selecting two varieties of elephant foot yam and in improving their farming practices, thereby increasing their yields by up to 30%. Landless women and marginal farmers have been supported to grow the yams on fallow land, enabling them to earn up to US$210 in 6 months.

Read the story of change: Integrated agriculture enhances farm productivity and livelihoods in agro-biodiversity hotspots​ (PDF, 446KB).

This document is part of a Stories of Change series that shares some of the emerging gender outcomes from research supported in Asia by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund.