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Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 1901; doi:10.3390/su9111901

Assessment of Large Seed Banks Requirement for Drought Risk Management in South Asia

CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), New Delhi 110012, India
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Received: 30 August 2017 / Revised: 16 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Abstract

Agriculture in South Asia is largely dependent on rainfall, where about two-thirds of the cultivable lands lack irrigation facilities. In recent years, increasing frequency and severity of droughts have had a severe impact on rainfed agriculture and livelihood of millions of farmers in the region. There are numerous drought adaptation and mitigation options available for rainfed agriculture. A seed bank is one of those options that can play an important role in minimizing the effect of droughts on crop production. This paper assesses the need for seed banks in rainfed/partially irrigated areas of South Asia for the purpose of drought risk management. The need for additional seeds of the main crops or suitable alternative crops for re-sowing/planting after drought-induced losses of the main crop was assessed by using long-term gridded rainfall data and crop information. Results show that very limited rainfed areas in South Asia require additional seeds of main or alternative crops for drought risk management once in five to seven years’ drought return period. About 90 percent of such areas in South Asia may require additional seeds for drought risk management once in 10 years or more. The timing and severity of droughts during cropping season and cost/benefits of seed bank maintenance play a major role in choosing additional seeds for the main crops and/or alternate crops for maintenance in the large seed banks. This study shows that, despite the large investment requirement, maintenance of large seed banks for drought risks management is economically viable for the limited areas in South Asia. View Full-Text
Keywords: seed bank; drought; crop failure; cropping season; South Asia; drought return period seed bank; drought; crop failure; cropping season; South Asia; drought return period
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Khatri-Chhetri, A.; Aggarwal, P.K. Assessment of Large Seed Banks Requirement for Drought Risk Management in South Asia. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1901.

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