Barkina Faso
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West Bengal
Overview Background Solutions Documents
Agriculture is the main livelihood of around 70% of the population in West Bengal but growth has stagnated since the early 1990s, growing at just 1-2% compared to 6% in the previous decade. This decline can be attributed to the high cost of agricultural production – particularly irrigation costs - which have increased dramatically while the market price for paddy has hardly risen. As a result, fewer farmers are cultivating boro paddy.

This stagnation in agriculture is significant because the state has not yet attained food security. Many people migrate to find work and food, and it is reported that nearly 11% of rural households do not have enough food during some months of the year.

The Opportunity
West Bengal has adequate land and water resources for agriculture. Major tributaries of the Ganges River flow through the state and rainfall is 1,200-3,000 mm/year. Three-quarters of the land is suitable for agriculture but over 3.3 million hectares are divided into plots of 2 ha or less.

Smallholder AWM can therefore have a major impact on the lives of poor rural farmers.

A difficulty is that water is unevenly distributed across the state so different AWM solutions are required in different places to address this.

Madhya Pradesh
West Bengal
Decline in the area under Boro Paddy
  Mapping the Potential  
  Livelihoods maps can be used to identify where people will benefit most from AWM interventions. Different contexts create different needs and require different types of AWM and other investments. Equally, different livelihood groups have different needs - water is more important to some livelihoods than others.

The maps produced by the project are based on areas where rural people share relatively homogeneous living conditions.

The livelihoods information was combined with other factors to produce maps of potential investment for AWM. The areas showing the highest potential for AWM investment were identified on the basis of:

  Where water is physically available.
  Where water is key for livelihoods, i.e. the extent to which livelihoods depend on secure access to sufficient water and where lack of water is a major constraint for rural populations. Factors include population pressure and seasonality of water availability.
  Where most of the target beneficiaries are located based on rural population density and poverty rate.
Project Country Contacts
  Technologies   Name
  Country Coordinator and project contact point   Aditi Mukherji
  International Water Management Institute - New Delhi, India

  National Focal Point
  National Dialogue Facilitator   Saikat Pal
  Rajarhat PRASARI
  West Bengal

  Project Ambassadors for India   Vijay Shankar
  Samaji Pragati Sahayog

  Manas Kumar Satpathy

  Mercy Dikito-Wachtmeister
  GWP Secretariat

If you are working on similar issues and would like to discuss them with the project team please contact the project secretariat at: