Getting More Drops to the Crops

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Science  12 Feb 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5967, pp. 800
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5967.800

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Thanks to a little help from researchers equipped with satellite imagery, farmers in Raj Samadhilyia, a tiny village in Gujarat, have been able to do a better job of capturing, managing, and using the precious water provided by scanty rains. As a result, they are achieving a goal that scientists say will be essential to achieving food security worldwide: getting more crop per drop, particularly in areas where water could become scarcer due to climate change. It's a rare achievement, however, as water management remains a major challenge in dry parts of India and elsewhere. In Africa, for instance, most farmers still depend on unpredictable rains. Just 10% of Africa's farmland is irrigated, compared with 26% in India and 44% in China.