Working Paper Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prospects for the Future

Version 1 : Received: 7 September 2020 / Approved: 8 September 2020 / Online: 8 September 2020 (10:21:33 CEST)

How to cite: Sampath, P.V.; Jagadeesh, G.S.; Bahinipati, C.S. Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prospects for the Future. Preprints 2020, 2020090183 Sampath, P.V.; Jagadeesh, G.S.; Bahinipati, C.S. Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Prospects for the Future. Preprints 2020, 2020090183

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic is adversely impacting food and nutrition security and requires urgent attention from policymakers. Sustainable intensification of agriculture is one strategy that attempts to increase food production without adversely impacting the environment, by shifting from water-intensive crops to other climate-resistant and nutritious crops. This paper focuses on the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh by studying the impact of shifting 20% of the area under paddy and cotton cultivation to other crops like millets and pulses. Using FAO’s CROPWAT model, along with monsoon forecasts and detailed agricultural data, we simulate the crop water requirements across the study area. We simulate a business-as-usual base case and compare it to multiple crop diversification strategies using various parameters – food, calories, protein production, as well as groundwater and energy consumption. Results from this study indicate that reduced paddy cultivation decreases groundwater and energy consumption by around 9-10%., and a calorie deficit between 4-8% - making up this calorie deficit requires a 20-30% improvement in the yields of millets and pulses. We also propose policy interventions to incentivize the cultivation of nutritious and climate-resistant crops as a sustainable strategy towards strengthening food and nutrition security while lowering the environmental footprint of food production.

Subject Areas

Sustainable intensification; crop diversification; COVID-19; food security; nutrition security; water security

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