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Drought Resistant Soils: Optimization of Soil Moisture for Sustainable Plant Production

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Number of Pages
Type of Publication:
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Focus Topic:
Climate / Weather / Environment
Land / Water / Resource Management
Type of Risk:
Biological & environmental
Type of Risk Managment Option:
Risk coping
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

This paper discusses the issue of water scarcity, which is a major constraint on rain-fed agriculture. As well as being a consequence of low or erratic rainfall, the perceived water scarcity may be caused by choices made by the farmer, e.g. of a crop or variety sensitive to water stress, or by inadequate management of available water from rainfall. Inappropriate practices in a particular context can have a dramatic affect on water resources management and soil moisture availability. In order to minimize the impact of drought, soil needs to capture the rainwater that falls on it, store as much of that water as possible for future plant use, and allow plant roots to penetrate and proliferate. Problems with or constraints on one or several of these conditions cause soil moisture to be a major limiting factor for crop growth.