Improving agricultural productivity through diversified farming and enhancing livelihood security in coastal ecosystem with special reference to India

Nearly 40 % of cities larger than 500,000 populations are located in the coast in India, and yet threatened by a series of factors affecting the livelihood and very sustenance of the ecosystem. Notwithstanding, it has an economic value beyond their aesthetic benefit supporting human lives and livelihoods. By one estimate the combined global value of goods and services from coastal ecosystems is about US$ 12-14 trillion annually. The ecosystem, especially the coastal plain under inhabitation, spanning over 10.78 million ha area in India and mostly rice-based, merits appropriate attention to improve their livelihood through use of suitable diversified farming practices. The paper discusses, along with advancement of agricultural sciences suitable to the ecosystem, various farming practices including rice-horticultural/plantation crops, rice-fish/prawn, rice-duckery/goatery and their economic impacts. While projecting on the various ecological factors, mainly of natural or anthropological origin, threatening the sustenance of the ecosystem worldwide, the paper focuses on complete lack of information or even systematic attempts made so far to monitor the parameters. At the end, it suggests the strategies to be adopted on disaster management, livelihood security, and poverty alleviation, keeping in view of the climate change phenomenon, in tune with international mandate, for drawing long term action plan applicable to this ecosystem in India.