Strategies to Practice Climate-Smart Agriculture to Improve the Livelihoods Under the Rice-Wheat Cropping System in South Asia

  • Rajan BhattEmail author
  • Ramanjit Kaur
  • Amlan Ghosh


The rice-wheat cropping sequence (RWCS) is the world’s largest agricultural production system occupying around 12.3 M ha in India, 0.5 M ha in Nepal, 2.2 M ha in Pakistan, and 0.8 M ha in Bangladesh; and around 85% of this area falls in the Indo-Gangetic Plain (IGP). It is energy, labor, and capital intensive, favors global warming, and ultimately has a detrimental effect on the natural resources and soil biodiversity. Furthermore, the rice-wheat cropping sequence has a number of sustainability issues, viz., declining land and water productivity, poor soil health, and arising micronutrient deficiency which is an alarming issue. Integrated approaches must be developed for improving the declining livelihoods in the region. The changing climate and its consequences are complicating the situation of the available natural resources, viz., water, soil, atmosphere, etc. Carbon (C) and water footprints need to be identified in the currently practiced rice-wheat cropping sequence for filling the gaps to improve livelihoods by one or other means. Resource conservation technologies (RCTs) partition greater fraction of water from unproductive evaporation to the desired transpiration which is further reflected on the higher grain yields. Transpiration causes a greater inflow of water and nutrients which ultimately increases the grain yield with lesser consumption of irrigation water, which further increases water productivity. There is a need to focus on the issue to sustain the rice-wheat productivity in South Asia. This book chapter is focused on all the strategies to practice climate-smart agriculture for improving livelihoods in South Asia, which include irrigation based on scheduling, precision laser leveling, direct seeded rice (DSR), mechanical transplanting, crop diversification, short-duration crop varieties, and delaying transplanting time, and reevaluate their effect on water and land productivity under divergent soil textural classes under different climatic conditions in South Asia. There is a need to come out with an integrated package for the farmers depending upon their conditions. Delineation of the residual consequence of used RCT on available moisture during the intervening periods is there, as it affects the performance of intervening crops and certainly adds to the livelihood of the farmer. The aim of this chapter is to review different technologies and their impact on land and water productivity and thereby try to come up with some integrated approach for improving livelihoods of farmers of the region. Therefore, scientists must be very careful while advocating any single RCT or a set of RCTs to the farmers with a must consideration of their social, financial, and geological conditions for enhancing both land and water productivity in South Asia.


Climate-smart agriculture Rice-wheat cropping sequence South Asia Water productivity 



Alternate wetting and drying


Conservation agriculture


Carbon equivalent


Carbon footprint




Carbon monoxide


Carbon dioxide


Climate-smart agriculture


Direct seeded rice under zero tillage conditions


Direct seeded rice under conventional tillage conditions




Furrow-irrigated raised beds


Gypsum-enriched urea




Indo-Gangetic Plain


Integrated nutrient and pest management


Leaf color chart


Millennium development goal

MT (P)

Mechanical transplanting under puddled conditions


Mechanical transplanting under zero tillage conditions


Mechanical transplanting of rice


Nitrous oxide


Neem oil-coated urea


Nitrogen use efficiency


Punjab Agricultural University


Phosphogypsum-enriched urea


Particulate matter


Parts per million


Puddled transplanted rice


Resource conservation technologies


Rice-wheat cropping sequence


Sulfur-enriched urea


Soil organic carbon


Soil organic matter


Soil plant analysis development


System of rice intensification


Soil-specific nutrient management


Site-specific residue management


Soil test crop response




Irrigation water productivity


Zinc-enriched urea


Zero tillage


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scientist (Soil Science), Regional Research Station, KapurthalaPunjab Agricultural UniversityLudhianaIndia
  2. 2.Division of AgronomyICAR-Indian Agricultural Research InstituteNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Soil Science & Agricultural Chemistry, Institute of Agricultural ChemistryBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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