Appraisal of Natural Resource Database for Alternate Agricultural Land Use at Village Level Under Saline Environment-A Case Study from Sagar Island, India
The study deals with village level land use planning
for Sagar Island, West Bengal, India; conceived through the integration
of various factors like available land and water resources as well as
socio-economic factors viz. land holding sizes, social obligation and
economic conditions of farmers. The study was conducted during the period
2002 to 2005, in Jeebantala village of Sagar block (South 24 Parganas
district of West Bengal) which lies in between 88 °0737.2 and 88 °0831.2
E longitudes and 22 °4138.4 and 22 °4235.4 N latitudes covering
an area of 146.42 ha. Four soil series identified through detailed soil
survey were classified as Inceptisols and Entisols. They were evaluated
for land capability classification and soil site suitability for rice,
potato, sunflower, chilli, grass pea and fodder grass (Dinanath). Socio-economic
study of the area revealed that marginal (<1 ha) group dominated the
farming community sharing 77.25% of total population. Based on soil-site
suitability evaluation of different crops, results obtained from crop
experiments and constraints perceived by different group of farmers, various
rice based crop sequences were formulated. Rainfed rice-chilli and rainfed
rice-sunflower were suggested for saline soils where as rainfed rice-potato
and rainfed rice-grasspea were suggested for non-saline soils.
to cite this article:
A. Seal, R. Bera, K.D. Sah, D. Sarkar, A.K. Chatterjee, P. Bhattacharyya, K. Kim and S.H. Kim, 2008. Appraisal of Natural Resource Database for Alternate Agricultural Land Use at Village Level Under Saline Environment-A Case Study from Sagar Island, India. International Journal of Agricultural Research, 3: 121-130.
Remarkable improvement in agricultural production has been achieved in
India during the past 3 to 4 decades. However, inappropriate cropping
patterns have deteriorated the soil and water quality they are by creating
unprecedented problems for the existing ecosystem. But to achieve sustainable
development, sustainable utilization of natural resources is essential
(Tang et al., 2005). Hence it is essential to maintain a balance
in the potential use of natural resources, selection of suitable crops,
judicious use of agricultural inputs and effective management practices
for developing an optimum land use plan (Chattopadhyay, 1997).
The coastal soils of India exhibit a great deal of diversity in terms
of climate, physiography and physical characteristics (Sen et al.,
2000). Soil salinity poses the major problem, particularly in the post
rainy season, which hampers the pace of production. Besides salinity,
lack of good quality irrigation water is another limiting factor towards
multicropping practices. However, location specific assessment of natural
resources viz. soil and water and identification of major constraints
are the primary basis for sustainable development of coastal agriculture
(Bandyopadhyay et al., 2001). In this regard selection of new cropping
sequences for diversification of existing cropping patterns towards more
balanced cropping system have become important for increasing agricultural
production combined with poverty alleviation, environmental preservation
and to meet the ever increasing demand for cereals, vegetables, pulses
and oilseeds (Newaj and Yadav, 1992). Hence the present study aims to
identify the existing natural resources in the study areas and to develop
an alternate land use plan at village level with special reference to
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study was carried out in the village Jeebantala lying in between
88 °0737.2 to 88 °0831.2 E and 22 °4138.4 to 22 °4235.4
N and covering an area of 146.42 ha in Sagar block, South 24 Parganas,
West Bengal, India. The area belonged to Gangetic delta, hot, moist, sub-humid
agro-ecological region (Velayutham et al., 1999). Rice-rice crop
sequence is the principal land use of the area followed by vegetables
and oilseeds in some pockets of upland and midland. Soil series were identified
through detailed soil survey on 1:4000 scale (IARI, 1970) and classified
as per Soil Survey Staff (1998). Soils were analyzed for physico-chemical
properties (Jackson, 1973) and fertility status (Page et al., 1982).
Quality of irrigation water was estimated according to the procedure followed
by Tandon (1999). Soils were evaluated for suitability of major crops
using the methods suggested by FAO (1976) and Sys et al. (1993).
In order to analyze the interactions among the sociological and crop
productivity variables, socio-economic survey was conducted using an interview
schedule especially developed for the purpose (Ray and Mandal, 1999).
Hundred sample farmers were selected using random sampling technique and
interviewed successfully as per schedule (Sarker and Sinha, 2003) for
projecting their socio-economic conditions. Crop experiment consisted
of six rice based crop sequences with kharif rice (Oryza sativa)
in monsoon followed by six rabi crops in winter viz. boro rice (Oryza
sativa L.), potato (Solanum tuburosum L.), Sunflower (Helianthus
annus L.), Chilli (Capsicum annum), grass pea (Lathyrus
sativus L.) and Dinanath grass (Pennisetum pedicellatum). Chemical
fertilizers were applied during b oth kharif and rabi seasons according
to the dozes recommended for the area (Bhattacharyya, 1998) and the crops
were raised following standard package of agronomic practices (Bandyopadhyay
et al., 2001) for respective crops viz. date of sowing and harvesting,
fertilizer application, interculture, irrigation management and plant
protection measures. Statistical analyses were carried out using SPSS
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Land use planning of an area requires a minimum data set of natural resources
in terms of soil, water and socio-economic issues. Integrating these components
with scientific wisdom facilitates the transfer of technology at farmers
level and makes the land use plan easily adaptable and economically viable.
Four soil series viz. Jeebantala 1 (Jbn 1), Jeebantala 2 (Jbn 2),
Jeebantala 3 (Jbn 3) and Jeebantala 4 (Jbn 4) were identified in the area.
Soils of Jbn 1 were very deep, moderately well drained upland with silty
clay loam surface texture, slightly saline (Ece : 4.1 to 4.5 dS m-1)
and classified as fine,
mixed, hyperthermic, Aeric Endoaquepts (Table 1). Soils
of Jbn 2 were very deep, moderately drained midland with silty clay loam
surface texture, non saline (ECe : 2.8 to 3.5 dS m-1) and classified
as fine, mixed, hyperthermic, fluvaquentic endoaquepts. Soils of Jbn 3
were very deep, poorly drained lowland with silty clay surface texture,
moderate salinity (EC: 8.1 to 9.0 dS m-1) and classified as
fine, mixed, hyperthermic, typic endoaquepts. Soils of Jbn 4 were very
deep, very poorly drained lowland with silty clay loam surface texture,
strongly saline (EC: 14.6 to 15.4 dS m-1) and classified as
fine, mixed, hyperthermic typic endoaquepts.
In general the soils of Jbn 1, Jbn 2 and Jbn 3 soil series were slightly
acidic to neutral (pH: 6.2 to 7.7) in reaction while soils of Jbn 4 soil
series were slightly alkaline (pH: 7.7 to 8.2) in nature. Electrical conductivity
values of soils of Jbn 1 ad Jbn 2 soil series (0.34 to 0.51 dS m-1
and 0.30 to 0.38 dS m-1, respectively) were more or less same
while slightly higher values were obtained for Jbn 3 and Jbn 4 soil series
(0.93 to 1.07 dS m-1 and 1.35 to 1.73 dS m-1, respectively)
Organic carbon content of surface soils of all the soil series was high
(9.8 to 12.2 g kg-1) except in Jbn 4 soils series. All the
surface soils were medium in available nitrogen content (255 to 292 kg
ha-1) and available P2O5 content (69
to 79 kg ha-1) where as available Potash was of high level
(638 to 936 kg ha-1) and the values generally decreased down
the soil profile depth with some exceptions.
Groundwater and ponds were the only viable source of irrigation in
the area, which covered 7.51 and 10.27% of total cultivable upland and
midland respectively (Table 2). Studies on quality of
irrigation water indicate that saline irrigation water is the major problem
in this area. Lowest EC value (0.63 to 0.74 dS m-1) was obtained
for pond water followed by groundwater (EC - 1.76 to 3.01 dS m-1),
canal water (EC - 12.24 to 19.36 dS m-1) and river water (EC
- 16.09 to 21.96 dS m-1). The higher EC value of river water
might be due to its close connection with the sea. Low ECw of pond water
(less than 0.75 dm-1) indicates that it would not lead to soil
salinization if used for irrigation
|| Irrigation water quality (Pooled data-pre monsoon,
monsoon and post monsoon) of different sources
|| Demographic features and land characteristics of the
|*: H. No: House hold number; Values in parentheses indicate
percentage, SC: Schedule Caste; ST: Schedule Tribe
purposes. Water attributes like Na+, Ca2+, Cl,
CO32 and HCO3
followed a trend similar to ECw values. Considering the Sodium Adsorption
Ratio (SAR) and Residual Sodium Carbonate (RSC) values both pond water
and ground water samples may be rated as safe while canal and river water
were practically unsafe for irrigation purpose (Richards, 1954; Ayres
and Westcot, 1985).
Two categories of farmers viz marginal (< 1 ha) and small (1-2
ha) were identified in the study area on the basis of their operational
land holding sizes (Table 3). The study area represented
more or less similar trend with respect to farm holding sizes in the coastal
ecosystem of West Bengal where proportion of marginal holdings were higher
(Yadav, 1999). Out of the total household (201), 79.1 percent comprised
of marginal farmers and the rest 20.9% belonged to small farmers category.
In general literacy percent and average family size showed an increasing
trend with increase in operational land holding size of the farmers. Majority
of schedule cast (81.55 of their total population) and schedule tribe
(79.31% of their total population) belonged to marginal farmers category.
Present Land Use
Rice-rice crop sequence is principally followed in the area with vegetables
and oilseeds in some pockets of upland and medium land. Marginal farmers
owned the major share of total cropped area (68.87 ha) in comparison to
small farmers (56.87 ha). For both the categories maximum yield was obtained
from upland (2.95-10.50 ton ha-1) while the minimum yield was
recorded from lowland (1.87-2.10 ton ha-1) areas (Table
4). Cropping intensity was maximum in midland area followed by upland
and lowland areas. The marginal farmers in the midland area cultivated
Grass pea mainly as utera crop. Lowland areas were mostly monocropped
except few patches and remained fallow during the rabi (winter) season.
Live Stock Status
Livestock, which serves as a backbone of rural agriculture includes
animals and poultry birds. The average number of livestock per household
increased with land holding size. Maintenance cost of livestock was lower
in case of marginal farmers since they engaged more family labour for
livestock maintenance in comparison to small farmers. Availability of
fodder is not sufficient for the livestock population of the area. Shortfall
in fodder requirement of livestock (Ilacob, 1985) was recorded as high
as 273.93% in case of small farmers and 26.43 percent for the marginal
farmers (Table 5).
|| Present land use of the study area
|*: OLH: Operational Land Holding
||Livestock of the study area
|*: Fodder production calculation include total straw
|| Relationship between socio-economic factors and crop
|**: Significant at 1% level; *: Significant at 5% level;
NS: Not Significant, Note: Degrees of freedom = 99
Relationship Between Social Factors with Food Production
Productivity and land use efficiency of an area reflect the extent
and degree of utilization of natural resources in agriculture (Mukhopadhyay
et al., 2004). Pearchan chi square test was used to evaluate the
degree of association of the socio-economic factors viz land holdings,
family size, literacy, caste and average livestock number with productivity
and land use efficiency (Table 6). Family size has a
significant influence on the land use efficiency especially in the coastal
areas (Sagar Island), which are mostly inhabited by the marginal farmers.
Hence the poor socio-economic condition of the farm owners compel the
utilization of family members as farm labour in order to obtain maximum
benefits from marginal land holding sizes. In this respect increase of
family size indirectly influences the operational activities and consequently
the land use efficiency. Utilization of natural resources in the study
area has been greatly influenced by socio-economic status of the farming
community. Similar findings were reported by Kumar et al. (1997)
in their study of socio-economic impact on land resource management.
Soil Site Suitability of Different Crops
The soil is given a suitability rating depending on how well its properties
meet the requirement of the crop (Table 7). If all the
properties match well with the crop requirements, the soil is considered
|| Actual and potential suitability of major crops
|1ASC: Actual Suitability Class; 2PSC:
Potential Suitability Class; 3YFF: Yield in Farmers Field
(q ha-1); *: Newly introduced crop,
Note: f, n and w represents soil limiting factors where f denotes limitation
in soil fertility (organic carbon), n denotes soil salinity and w denotes
soil wetness factor. Potential suitability class was determined on the
basis of improvement that can be brought about in the suitability class,
after the correction of manageable soil limiting factors viz. fertility
and soil salinity
|| Comparative analysis of the yield and economics of
different rice based cropping sequences in the trial plots
highly suitable, otherwise less suitable (moderate, marginal) and even
not suitable depending upon the deviation of the soil properties from
the optimal growth requirement of the crop (Vadivelu et al., 2004).
Soil site suitability evaluation revealed that chilli, grass pea and Dinanath
grass were highly suitable in Jbn 1 soil series where as rice, potato
and sunflower were moderately suitable in these soils. Soils of Jbn 2
soil series were highly suitable for the cultivation of chilli and Dinanath
grass however rice (rainfed and irrigated) may also be grown successfully
in these soils after correction of soil fertility. Evaluation study indicated
that rainfed rice, chilli and Dinanath grass were moderately suitable
in Jbn 3 soil series while soils of Jbn 4 soil series offered limited
scope for crop cultivation due to severe limitations of soil salinity
and very poor drainage (Seal et al., 2005).
Yield and Economics of Rice Based Cropping Sequences in Different
Average productivity of difference cropping sequences varied with
soil salinity level and the production efficiency went down with increase
in salinity. In general rainfed rice-chilli cropping sequence recorded
the highest productivity (average rice equivalent yield 10,600 kg ha-1)
with few exceptions (Table 8). Rainfed rice-equivalent
yield of rice-potato cropping sequence was highest in comparison to the
other cropping sequences in the non saline and slightly saline soils.
However net income was highest from rainfed rice-chilli cropping sequence
except in the non saline soils. Hence in non saline and slightly saline
soils all the cropping sequences were profitable in terms of net return
and benefit cost ratio however in these soils rainfed rice-chilli and
rainfed rice-potato was distinctly better than others. Capital investment
was much higher for rainfed rice-potato (48,462 Indian rupees ha-1)
and rainfed rice-chilli (30,655 Indian rupees ha-1) sequences
and therefore most suited for small farmers with better economic status.
On the other hand cost of cultivation for rainfed rice-sunflower (20615
Indian rupees ha-1) cropping sequence was much lower while
the income per rupees invested (1.66 to 1.22 except in strongly saline
soils) was compatible, even higher in some cases than the other cropping
sequences rendering it suitable for the resource poor marginal farmers.
Similar interpretation was made by Gangwar and Katyal (2001) working on
different rice based cropping sequences in West Bengal and Orissa. On
similar basis rainfed rice-chilli and rainfed rice- sunflower may be the
first choice of small and marginal farmers respectively in the moderately
saline soils. In the strongly saline soils, no cropping sequence proved
to be profitable, however rainfed rice-Dinanath grass (labour cost was
64.5% of total cost) or rainfed rice-fallow (labour cost was 77.2% of
total cost) cropping sequence may be applicable in limited cases as family
members contributed a considerable portion of the farm labour, which may
curtail the total cost of cultivation.
Land Use Planning
Land use planning at village level indicates the use of agriculture
lands to best suited crops and permanent fallow land to other economic
uses. Based on land features, soil resources, irrigation facility, land
holding size, economic status of farmers, social acceptability and local
market demand (Das et al., 2006), crop plan was formulated for
successful agriculture in the study area. Especially in coastal region
sustainability of soil and water resources are associated with suggested
crop planning as these areas suffered from restricted availability of
good quality of cultivable land and irrigation water due to salinity hazards.
Suggested Land Use for Marginal Farmers
Suggested land use for marginal farmers aims at maximum utilization
of land and water resources without deteriorating soil health and creating
maximum mandays of employment in agriculture (Das et al., 2005).
Rainfed rice may be cultivated in monsoon season without choice to fulfill
the requirement for family consumption. However, in the winter season
sunflower and grass pea were suggested as alternate crops in non saline,
slightly saline and moderately saline soils of upland and midland. Chilli
was not suggested for marginal farmers due to the comparatively high cost
(20,160 Indian rupees ha-1) of cultivation. Grass pea cultivation
was suited for the marginal farmers due to its low cultivation cost (3,150
Indian rupees ha-1) and was suggested in slightly saline/moderately
saline soils of upland and non-saline/slightly saline soils of midland
areas. In addition grass pea may be cultivated as utera crop after rainfed
rice utilizing the residual soil moisture in the areas where irrigation
facility is not available. Large scale potato cultivation may not be suggested
for marginal farmers due to high cultivation cost (37,967 Indian rupees
ha-1) involved as well as risk and uncertainty associated with
potato yield in saline soils, however small scale cultivation may be cultivated
in the non saline soils of midland to cater for family consumption. In
moderate saline soil sunflower and in lowland condition winter rice cultivation
may be suggested with assured irrigation. Adoption of the suggested cropping
sequences may increase the operational land holdings size up to 26.32%
Suggested Land Use for Small Farmers
Rainfed rice cultivation, which forms staple food of the locals is
the only choice during monsoon season, however during winter season chilli,
sunflower and potato cultivation may be practiced by the small farmers
in non-saline and slightly saline soils of upland and midland. Though
the net profit of potato was quite lower than that of sunflower in slightly
saline soil, its inclusion as winter crops was solely in view of its wide
social acceptability. In moderately saline soils chilli could be the first
choice due to its higher net income. In strongly saline soils, no crop
seemed to be profitable from economic point of view, but rainfed rice-Dinanath
grass cropping sequence may be suggested in limited areas where irrigation
was assured, considering involvement of family labour (labour cost was
64.5 of total cost) which curtailed the actual cultivation cost in farmers
field. Inclusion of fodder crop (Dinanath grass) in the suggested cropping
sequence for small farmers was in view of higher status of household livestock,
which cost a shortfall in terms of actual fodder requirement. Adoption
of suggested cropping sequences by small farmers may increase operational
land holdings size up to 36.44% in slightly saline soils of lowland (Table
|| Suggested land use of the study area for marginal farmers
|OLH1 : Operational land holdings
|| Suggested land use of the study area for small farmers
The authors are thankful to Indian Council of Agricultural Research,
National Agricultural Technology Project for providing funds to carry
out the research work.
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