India is considered the world’s third-largest grain producer after China and the United States. 46% of India’s land under cultivation has access to irrigation facilities.
The balance 54% is unirrigated and hence dependent on rainwater for cultivation making it seasonal in nature. Productivity is much lower in rain-fed cultivation, usually ranging from one to two tons per hectare for food grains compared to up to four tons with irrigation.
The flip side to irrigation in India is that it is largely dependent on groundwater. Poor water management practices has put tremendous pressure on these groundwater reserves. The importance of taking up double-cropping is more than ever but only sustainable measures can ensure longevity. The need of the hour is water conservation before erratic monsoons and depleting groundwater reserves create an unimaginable food crisis.