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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Harvard: Room to Improve Sustainable Agricultural Practices in India

Yields of rice and wheat in India have increased dramatically over the past 50 years, which has been critical for feeding the country’s growing population. Poor performance on key sustainability metrics, however, threaten the future of agricultural productivity, according to new research conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

The study, published in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), analyzed publicly available state-level data on 11 indicators, including pest management, fertilizer use, soil health, water conservation, and biodiversity. It is a first attempt to provide statewide report cards on ecological sustainability of agriculture across India, the authors said, adding that periodic revision of these report cards will help monitor the impact of initiatives to increase sustainability and improve state performance over time.

“Our paper clearly shows the wide variation in production practices across states,” said Dr. Divya Veluguri, research associate at Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study. “As each region faces a unique set of challenges and natural resource constraints, public policies and programs also need to be tailored to regional needs, with long-term sustainability in mind.”

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