Fighting drought

The current drought has spurred Indian agricultural scientists to formulate guidelines for combating different rain scarcity situations -- when rains start late, when they are less than normal, when they taper off early, and when there is a big break in rainfall in between.

This exercise will be the first of its kind, says S K Sinha, director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), which convened a national meeting of agricultural scientists recently.

The scientists will analyse the results of all-India trials of cropping patterns conducted across the country. Recommended measures should include watershed management, soil and land management, optimisation of fertiliser use and correct cropping patterns.