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The relative importance of drought and other water-related constraints for major food crops in South Asian farming systems

This journal article investigates the significance of drought and other water-related constraints in South Asia compared with other limitations to the production of four major food crops — wheat, rice, sorghum and chickpea — in five South Asian farming systems.

The study was based on a survey of 330 'expert informants'. It indicates that water shortages and constraints such as high-cost irrigation or flooding of low-lying fields contribute to no more than 30 per cent of current yield gaps in major food crops. Other constraints contribute the most to yield losses, particularly soil infertility and poor management of fertiliser, weeds, pests and diseases. The respondents suggested interventions to address these constraints and improve food security, which include biotechnology and improvements in soil fertility.