Rice cultivation today faces the tough challenge of feeding an ever-increasing world population using shrinking resources. The scenario in a group of 19 villages in Pondicherry (south India), where the biovillage model is implemented by the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, looks all the more grim with stagnating rice yields (5 t ha-1) at very high input use (200 kg N ha-1) in the irrigated transplanted system. The biovillage model seeks ways of addressing concurrently problems on natural resource conservation, household food security, and rural development. The model ensures sustainable productivity of the physical resource base as indicated by a baseline survey. To overcome these constraints, a participatory evaluation of the potential of hybrid rice in the biovillages was undertaken.