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AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

INTRODUCTION

  • Agriculture means cultivation of land and rearing of animals. While 70% of total population still depends on agriculture and allied activities, 52% of the India’s workforce is still engaged in agriculture. It has accounted for 13.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011-12, with annual growth rate of 2.5% during 2011-12. During 11th five year plan it has estimated to be grown at 3.28% against the target of 4%.
  • Agricultural land means ‘cultivated area’ i.e. it includes cropped area and fallow land. Cropped area at a given point of time is called as net sown area. The gross cultivated area includes net sown area plus portion of net sown area used more than once in a year. Fallow land includes the land out of cultivation for one to five years.

SALIENT FEATURES OF INDIAN AGRICULTURE | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Subsistence agriculture – Majority of farmers have small piece of land on which they grow crops with little surplus to sell in the market, as most of the farm produce is consumed by farmer himself,
  • Huge pressure of population on agriculture – Only 0.1 ha/person agricultural land is available in India as against world average of 4.2 ha/person.
  • Dependence on monsoon which is erratic in nature. Only 1/3d area has got perennial irrigation facilities. Rest is rainfed.
  • Pre-dominance of food crops — More than 2/3rd of total cropped area is devoted to cultivation of food crops. Less area under leguminous, oilseeds and fodder crops.
  • Variety of crops — Both tropical and temperate types of crops can be grown in India.
  • Less mechanization — as farmer is poor and has small land holding size, he is not able to buy expensive machinery for farming.
  • Small size of land holding — average land holding size is only 1.5 ha/farmer. More than 70% farmers are either small or marginal i.e. less than 2 ha per farmer.
  • Low productivity — Indian agricultural yield is among lowest in the world because of lack of use of modern and scientific techniques.
  • Poor electricity, water, road, credit, storage and marketing facilities.
  • Poverty and indebtedness — Agriculture has become ‘distress farming’ with at least 1000 farmer’s suicide every year since 2001, as per government data.
  • Inadequate agricultural research in universities and institutes. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

We can say that these features are at the same time problems of Indian agriculture.

DETERMINANTS OF AGRICULTURE | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

These factors determine the cropping pattern, yield of the crops and overall agricultural development.

  • Physical factors — Topography, Climate and soil.
  • Institutional factors — Land holding size, land tenure.
  • Infrastructural factors — Irrigation, electricity, credit, roads, storage, marketing.
  • Technological factors — High Yielding Variety (HYV) seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides, farm machinery.

INFRASTRUCTURAL FACTORS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  1. IRRIGATION

Irrigation is essential to overcome spatial and temporal variation of rainfall. It is needed because monsoon rainfall is concentrated only in four months and because 60% of net sown area is rainfed only. Irrigation helps to bring marginal lands like deserts into agricultural rise. Also the inputs of Green Revolution like HYV seeds, chemical fertilisers, pesticides etc yield maximum output only if adequate irrigation facilities are available. Irrigation helps to have multiple crops in a year. Productivity of a well irrigated land is always higher than unirrigated land.

Distribution of Irrigated Area

  • State wise distribution of irrigated area is very uneven. In terms of total area under irrigation, Uttar Pradesh alone has more than one fourth (27.8%) of total net irrigated area. Along with UP, the Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Gujarat together have 76% of total net irrigated area.
  • In terms of percentage net irrigated area sequentially top states are Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu have more than 40% net irrigated area. The belt from Rajasthan to West Bengal have moderate percentage while States with low percentage of net irrigated area are all northeastern States and those on Deccan Plateau and Malabar Coast. Apart from this there are intra-state variations too such as that between Western Maharashtra and Marathwada — Vidarbha region.

Sources of Irrigation

  • Wells and Tubewells: These account for 60% of total irrigation. Well irrigation is particularly suitable in areas with permeable rock structure which allows accumulation of ground water through percolation. Therefore, wells are seen more in areas with alluvial soil, regur soil etc. while they are less seen in rocky terrain or mountain regions. The wells of dry, arid region have saline water which is not good for both drinking and irrigation. States with more than 50% well and tube well irrigated areas are Punjab, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Due to continuously falling ground water level farmers are now digging tube wells which further lower water table. Tamil Nadu has largest number of electrical pump sets.
  • Canal Irrigation: Canals account for 30% of total irrigation capacity in India. Some canals are directly taken from main river stream such as in Uttar Pradesh. Majority of the canals flow from multipurpose irrigations projects e.g. Nagarjuna Sagar, Bhakra-Nangal dam canals have high initial cost of construction but in longer run they have less operational cost and so cheaper. Canals irrigation is well developed in Indo-Gangetic Northern and the delta regions of peninsular rivers. Canal irrigation however is associated with problems of water logging, salinisation and alkalinisation because of seepage of water from unlined canal beds into adjacent water table. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES
  • Tanks: About 6% of net irrigated area is under tank irrigation. It is mostly confined in South Indian States having undulating and rocky terrain. It is seen in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Kerala. Tank irrigation depends on rain and it requires large area. A large number of tanks have gone into disuse due to long neglect of repairs or silting.
  • Multipurpose Projects: A multipurpose project is a river valley project which serves number of purposes like storage of water, irrigation, hydroelectricity generation, flood control, drinking and industrial water supply, fisheries and recreation.

The Governments and experts are nowadays focusing on micro, small and medium multipurpose or basically irrigation project because big irrigation projects have many problems along with their benefits.

Problems with multipurpose irrigation projects:

  • Time and cost overrun result into huge cost of construction.
  • Displacement of large number of people with poor rehabilitation record.
  • Inundation of vast fertile land and forestry disturbing ecological balance.
  • Many projects are still incomplete creating negligible irrigation capacity from huge capital expenditure e.g. projects in Maharashtra.
  • Majority of big projects particularly in Himalayan region are located in seismically sensitive zone causing safety concerns.

Command Area Development Programme (CADP)

  • The Central Government launched CADP in 1974-75 to bridge the gap between irrigation potential created and that being utilized. The areas fed by an irrigation system like canals, streams, tube-wells, tanks, etc. are called Command Areas. Culturable Command Area (CCA) is the area which can be fed by an irrigation scheme and is fit for cultivation. Apart from this, an irrigation scheme is classified as major, medium and minor irrigation scheme having Culturable Command Area (CCA) less than 2000 ha, 2000 to 10,000 ha and more than 10,000 ha respectively. The main objectives of CADP were:
  • Improving the utilization of created irrigation potential.
  • Optimization of agricultural production and productivity in irrigated areas.
  • The programme involves (a) On Farm Development (OFD) works like construction of field channels and drains, land levelling, consolidation of land holding and proper realignment of farm boundaries. (b) Warabandi or rotational system of distribution of irrigation water is undertaken with a view to ensure equitable and timely supply of water to fields. (c) Both surface and ground water sources are to be developed. (d) Field trials, demonstrations and training of farmers for establishing suitable cropping pattern and get optimum productivity by improving farm practices. (e) The restructured program in 2005 includes better management practices like participation of water users in sharing of costs and efficient utilization of water.

Drip Irrigation | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Drip irrigation involves frequent, slow application of water drop by drop at the plant base through a network of pipelines. The method enables water application precisely and directly to the root zone maintaining an optimum moisture condition. It is most suitable for arid, semi arid and rainfed regions where dryland farming is practiced. It is also suitable for widely spaced orchards/fruit crops as well as vegetables and cash crops.
  • Advantages: Both water and fertilizers can be delivered to the plants. Water use efficiency is as high as 95% compared to 50% in conventional, irrigation, system. Since it supplies water and nutrients in controlled environment i.e. uniform and exact quantities, it increases the productivity.

Sprinkler Irrigation

  • In sprinkler irrigation, water is sprayed from above the plants by a piped network. This system is suitable for uneven topography. It can be used to cool the crops during high temperature. It can be used for almost all crops. These techniques are costly, but the government through NABARD provides subsidized loans to farmers to buy them. In the long run, micro irrigation techniques give better returns due to water saving and raised productivity.
  • POWER
  • Continuous and good quality supply of electricity is essential to pump the water and irrigate the plants. Besides many post harvest activities also need electricity. Punjab, Haryana, UP, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu consume large amount of their power in agriculture sector. Presently in most of the States power is provided to farmers at subsidized rates or even free during election periods. Various government agencies have been calling for abolishing the underpricing of electricity. The biggest problem for agriculture, although, is non availability or interrupted poor quality supply of electricity which forces them to use very costly diesel generator sets for providing water to the crop.

    CREDIT | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Timely and cheaper supply of credit is very essential for conducting farm operations. It is necessary in a country where 70% farmers are small and marginal farmers (< 2 ha), practice subsistence farming and are very poor.
  • The major reason behind farmer’s suicide in Vidarbha, Andhra, Kerala, Karnataka and other States is heavy indebtedness as institutional credit is not easily available. The government on its part has been taking many initiatives like Lead Bank Scheme, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Kisan Credit Card, interest subvention on farmers’ loans, debt waiver package for suicide prone agricultural regions, etc.

ROADS, STORAGE AND MARKETING

  • These are necessary for connecting agriculture to markets, reduce wastage of farm produce, processing of farm produce to increase its quality and value and get better remuneration to farmers. The government is building roads through Pradhan Mantri Grma Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Bharat Nirmal and subsequent State and National level road network. Agricultural produce Marketing Committee (APMC) runs ‘mandi’ in every district and blocks where marketing and trading facility for farm produce is provided.
  • Food Corporation of India (FCI) provides price support for farmers and ensures adequate public distribution of foodgrains. Besides, cooperative groups, private traders too buy farm produce including cash crops directly from farmers. Government is also increasing storage capacity through Warehousing Corporation of India (WCI), FCI, and private participation. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is mandated with promotion and development of the export of farm produce. Recently Central Government has mooted the proposal of FDI in retail whereby substantial back end investment (50%) in agriculture is proposed. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

INSTITUTIONAL FACTORS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  1. Land Holding Size

Due to rapid growth of population and inheritance law the per capital land holding in India is too small i.e. 0.1 ha/person and per farm household it is 1.5 ha. More than 70% of holdings are small and marginal (22 ha) out of which 50% are marginal farmers, as shown in the table below:

Category Area (ha) Percentage of holdings Percentage of area
Marginal <1 50.6 9.0
Small 1 — 2 20.0 11.9
Semi-medium 2 — 4 15.2 18.5
Medium 4 — 10 11.3 20.7
Large >10 04.0 30.9

The largest size of the land holding is in Rajasthan (4 ha), Punjab (3.5 ha) while in Kerala it is 0.3 ha, in UP 0.72 ha. It should be noted that large land holding size in arid and un-irrigated areas is not of much significance. Small land holdings are economically unviable for application of modern technology and mechanization.

Land Reforms | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Land reforms aim at redistributing ownership holding from the view point of social justice and re-organizing operational holdings for optimum utilization of land. The entire concept of land reforms aims at abolition of intermediaries and bringing actual cultivator in direct contact with the State by giving tenant farmer his right and security of work. The components of land reform are as following:
  • Abolition of intermediaries such as zamindars, absentee landlords;
  • Land tenancy reforms i.e. regulation of rent, security of tenure for tenants and conferment of ownership rights on them;
  • Ceiling on land holdings and distribution of surplus land to landless agricultural labourers and small farmers;
  • Agrarian reorganization including consolidation of holdings and prevention of subdivision and fragmentation
  • Organisation of co-operative farming; and
  • Improvement in the system of land record keeping, computerization of land records.
  • In India while, the small (<2 ha) and marginal farmers (<1 ha) constituting 70% of the land holdings own only 20% of the total area; the large farmers (>10 ha) constituting only 4% of holdings own 30% of the total land. Apart from this there are 10.67 crore landless labourers as per 2001 census. The urgency of land reforms is well known. The Government on its part has made some laws also. Land is a state subject. The Union Government has land reforms related laws into IX Schedule for example. The Zamindari Abolition Act, 1969 laws conferring ownership rights and rent regulation of tenants, Land Ceilings Act, Consolidation Act, etc. have been passed by Centre and States. But the implementation of these laws has been very poor. The laws themselves have many loopholes such as definitions of personal cultivation and tenant, exemptions from ceiling, unscrupulous transfer of land in the name of fake persons, etc. The main reasons for non-implementation of land reforms have been resistance of landed aristocrats, lack of political will and bureaucratic apathy.
  • Among recent initiatives, government is implementing National Land Records Modernization Programme which seeks computerization of data and copies of Record of Rights. After landless labourers, protest march in 2012, Central Government has promised to set up a framework National Land Reforms Policy.

TECHNOLOGICAL FACTORS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  1. SEEDS
  • The traditional varieties of seeds in India are climatically adapted and genetically diverse but had lesser yields and susceptibility to plant diseases. In order to achieve self sufficiency in food production, high yielding varieties (HYV) of seeds or hybrid seeds were introduced with Green Revolution. HYV seeds have following merits:
  • Shorter life cycle s 2-4 crops in a year can be taken.
  • Increased productivity by 10 to 20%.
  • Relatively easy to adopt for farmers.
  • But these seeds have their own drawbacks such as:
  • They require more water and fertilizers for giving optimum production, so the capital cost too increases. This creates problem for poor farmers particularly in rainfed areas.
  • HYV crops are sensitive to physical environment in which they grow.
  • Because of loss of diversity due to moo-cropping, new plant diseases have emerged.
  • Regional disparities in agricultural development have been seen. They were successful in areas of high irrigation like Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, deltas areas of peninsular rivers.
  • Inter-crop disparities have been observed. The area under rice, wheat mainly and followed by sugarcane, cotton, groundnut, potato has increased. Coarse cereals like jowar, bajra, maize and particularly oilseeds and pulses have been neglected (Economic Survey).
  • Despite these shortcomings HYV seeds have became backbone of India’s self sufficiency in food production. Recently Genetically Modified (GM) crops were introduced since last decade, particularly in cotton and brinjal. GM crops claim resistance to major plant diseases, increased productivity and various kinds of tolerance to environment. Environmentally conscious people have opposed GM seeds on the grounds that the effect of GM crops on human health and food chain are not yet completely known; the mono-cropping will lead to loss of plant biodiversity ad emergence of new plant diseases; these are costly and need high amount of agricultural inputs; it will lead to monopolization of multinational seeds companies making farmers completely dependent on them.
  • At present Bt Cotton production is allowed, field trials of Bt Brinjal are controlled and the experimental trials and commercial application of new GM seeds is given under the regulatory control of Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) under Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • National Seeds Policy 2002 provides the framework for growth of the seed sector. The Seeds Act, 1966; Seeds Control Order, 1963 as well as protection of Plant Varieties and Farmer’s Right, Act, 2007 regulate seed sector while a new commercial seeds bills is in discussion since long.
  • FERTILISERS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES
  • With decreasing fertility of the soil due to depletion of nutrients by centuries of farming, use of fertilizers has become essential. HYV hybrid and GM seeds need more nutrients as they yield more, so increased use of fertilizers along with irrigation becomes essential. The increased use of chemical or inorganic fertilizers is said to be responsible for 70% of the overall agricultural growth.
  • The fertilizer consumption is higher in Punjab, Haryana, Western UP, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu while it is quite low in Rajasthan, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and north-eastern States.
  • There are following constraints to increase the consumption of fertilizers —
  • More than half of the area of the country being rainfed can absorb only limited amount of chemical fertilizers.
  • Supplies of the fertilizers are insufficient, not available at right time and in right form.
  • Small and marginal farmers cannot afford costly fertilizers.
  • Inadequate soil testing facilities for balanced application of nutrients.
  • Most of the fertilizers used in India have to be imported either in raw material or complete form. The burden of continuously rising prices of fertilizers falls to a greater extent on Government of India which subsidies the fertilizers. As a result there is demand from one section of experts to decrease fertilizer subsidies. Government had earlier decontrolled phosphatic and potassic fertilizers in 1992. In 2011, government brought Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS).

Features of NBS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • In keeping with the policy of liberalization and reforms, Phosphatic and potassic fertilizers were decontrolled in 1992. Therefore, prices of these fertilizers increased sharply thereafter, leading to fall in their consumption. This resulted in deterioration in NPK use ratio. At the national level, NPK use in the ratio of 4:2:1 has been referred to as being an optimum ratio for balanced use of chemical nutrient. The ratio is mainly for food crops. For cash crops, plantation crops and horticulture crops, the optimum ratio varies according to soil-nutrient status and crop needs. After de-control, the NPK ratio deteriorated from 6:2.4:1 (1990-91) to 10:2.9:1 (1996-97). To cushion the impact of decontrol and with an aim to encourage balanced fertilizer use, government did provide a subsidy in the form of concession on various fertilizers of P and K origin and their complexes. Therefore, after 1997-98 the consumption of P and K fertilizers has increased significantly and NPK ratio has improved to 6.4:2.7:1 in 2000-01.
  • However the government’s long term is more towards a reform and deregulated regime in all three types of fertilizers. To pursue this aim the government of India approved to implement the nutrient based subsidy policy on decontrolled Phosphatic & Potassic fertilizer with effect from 1st April, 2010.
  • Under this scheme, it has been decided to fix the subsidy on the nutrients ‘N’ —Nitrogen, P- Phosphorous, ‘K’ – Potassium and ‘S’ — Sulphur contents for the year 2010­11. In addition to the fixed subsidy on above mentioned nutrients, there will be additional per ton subsidy for subsidized fertilizer carrying other secondary nutrients and micro nutrients in formulations approved under fertilizer control order FCO 1985. Under this regime the subsidy on the nutrient shall remain fixed and the retail price of the subsidized fertilizer will be decided by the companies.
  • Intended benefits
  • The NBS regime is expected to depict the actual demand of fertilizers in, the country and promote realistic of fertilizer products in the International market.
  • Unshackling of fertilizer industry is also expected to attract fresh investments in this sector.
  • The NBS regime is expected to promote balanced fertilization and consequently increase agriculture productivity in the country through higher usage of secondary and micro-nutrients.
  • It is also expected that new innovative fertilizer products would be developed subsequently under the NBS regime to meet the different requirements of Indian agriculture.
  • Integrated use of Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers
  • Farmyard or green manure cattle during Compost, silt and crop rotations involving leguminous crops are traditional sources of providing nutrients to the plants. The utility of these organic manures in increasing the soil quality and nutrients is well acclaimed. Also the biofertilisers such as rhizobia, blue-green algae i.e. cyanobacteria, azospirillum and BGA-azolla combination fix the atmospheric nitrogen in the roots of the plants or increase solubility of other nutrients. These organic fertilizers take time to enrich the soil but once it is done, then its fairly lasting and completely sustainable. It is being realized that organic farming based on organic fertilizers and organic pesticides etc. gives healthier food crop and almost equal yield to that of using chemical fertilizers. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES
  • The government is promoting ‘Balanced and Integrated Use of Fertilisers Scheme to popularize soil test based judicious application of fertilizers in combination with organic manures and biofertilisers. The government has also started National Project on Development and Use of Biofertilisers to promote biofertiliser use. Apart from this government has launched National Project on Organic Farming which focuses on production, promotion, marketing and regulation of organic farming in the country.

Pesticides and Insecticides

  • While the use of chemical pesticides and insecticides is widely prevalent, they are brought with risk of chemical residues in food grains and vegetables. The example of Endosulfan and it’s biomagnification effect on vultures is well published.
  • The Integrated Pest Management involves balanced use of chemical and organic pesticides such as combination of neem, gur and cow dung etc. It decreases use of chemical pesticides.

CROPPING INTENSITY | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • The intensity of cropping refers to the number of crops raised on a field during an agricultural year. The total cropped area as a percentage of new sown area gives cropping intensity. Since almost no further land can be added for cultivation in India, increasing the cropping intensity and productivity are the only measures for increasing agricultural production.
  • Cropping Intensity = Total cropped Area  x 100
  • Net Sown Area
  • Cropping intensity varies from 100% in Mizoram to 165% in Punjab and 132% for India as a whole. While irrigation is principal determinant of cropping intensity, the fertility of soil and use of HYV seeds too influence it. Cropping intensity is higher in Northern Plains, Coastal plains and deltas of rivers in peninsula which are well irrigated. Very low and low intensities are found in hilly, arid and semi arid States.

AGRICULTURAL EFFICIENCY AND PRODUCTIVITY

  • Agricultural efficiency means as ratio of output to inputs include manpower employed and cost of material inputs like irrigation, power, fertilizers, seeds, etc. Agricultural efficiency is reflected in agricultural productivity. Agricultural productivity can be measured in terms of:
  • Yield per unit area (generally hectare) when intensive agriculture is practiced i.e. heavy manpower and inputs are employed e.g. India, Japan, South-east Asia.
  • Yield per person — when extensive agriculture is practiced i.e. large very land holding and less manpower is employed e.g. USA, Canada, Russia.

CROPPING PATTERN | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Crops are broadly put into two groups viz. food crops and non food crops. Food crops are in turn classified into three subgroups: (i) Cereals and millets; (ii) Pulses; (iii) Fruits and vegetables i.e. horticultural crops. Cereals, millets and pulses together are called as food grains. Among non-food crops, oil seeds, fibre crops, several plantation crops and forage crops are important.
  • The cropping pattern refers to proportion of area under different crops at a given point of time. The cropping pattern in most of the regions of India conforms to subsistence type. It also shows substantial diversity due to varied climate and soil.
  • Broadly cropping pattern in India shows greater production of foodgrains than non food grains. Among food grains, the cereals particularly rice and wheat show dominance in production. The production of fruits and vegetables too has risen substantially since independence.
  • The area under pulses, oilseeds, cotton and sugarcane has been increasing progressively due to government promotion and market demand. Unfortunately area under millets is slowly decreasing compared to 1947 level.
  • There are regional preferences for crops too. Rice is the predominant crop in eastern India and coastal region. Wheat is grown predominantly in Punjab, Haryana and Western UP. Plantation crops like tea, coffee are grown in tropical hilly regions of North­east and Western Ghats. Kerala specializes in spices also Jowar, bajra etc millets are grown in arid and semi arid regions, cotton and groundnut in Maharashtra, Gujarat region; oilseeds in west-Central India, etc.
  • Variations i.e. changes in cropping pattern are being seen such as cotton and rice is now grown in Punjab, wheat is being grown in many non-green Revolution areas.
  • Cropping pattern is influenced by physical factors such as soil, rainfall, temperature, topography, etc. For example, with less monsoon rainfall, the peninsular farmers shift from wheat and sugarcane to millets. Socio-cultural preferences also influence it. Among other non physical factors, availability of irrigation followed by fertilizers, HYV seeds etc. are important. For example sugarcane is grown, in western Maharashtra, despite being a rainshadow region, due to irrigation facilities. Variations in prices of agricultural commodities influence crop selection in a big manner. A high Minimum Support Price (MSP) or market price promotes farmers to produce respective crop. International price movements, export-import policies, free trade agreements (FTA), etc now-a-days significantly determine prices of foodgrains and so crop selection by farmers.

DRY LAND AND WET LAND FARMING (RAINFED AGRICULTURE) | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

When rain water is the only source of moisture for the crops, it is termed as rainfed agriculture. Dry land farming is farming in regions with less than 75 cm annual rainfall. Rainfed (Wet Land) agriculture is the one in regions with more 75 cm annual rainfall. Dry land farming is characterized by –

  • Low rainfall with high variability resulting in frequent droughts, aridity, less humus in the soil due to low moisture content and soil erosion.
  • Lack of assured irrigation.
  • Mainly subsistence farming is practiced. Subsistence farming is characterized by low productivity, uncertain yields, low income and low capital formation. These regions coincide with drought prone belt and unemployment and underemployment is seen during monsoon failure and lean season.
  • SIGNIFICANCE OF DRY ZONE AGRICULTURE | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES
  • In India only 40% of farm area is irrigated, thus 60% of total arable land is rainfed and out of this one fourth of total land is dry land. Even if full irrigation potential is available in the country is realized, nearly half of the cultivated area in the country will remain under dry zone agriculture.
  • Besides, the main rainfed crops include pulses, oilseeds and millets like jowar, bajra, maize, barley etc. These are nutritionally very important crops from the viewpoint of widespread malnutrition in India. In order to achieve complete food security even for poor people, remove nutritional deficiencies, generate rural employment and contain food inflation its very important that productivity of dry land farming is increased.

MEASURES FOR DEVELOPMENT OF DRY LAND FARMING | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Soil and moisture conservation methods;
  • Better agronomic practices
  • Drought resistant, early maturing pest resistant seeds usage, aided by government.
  • Watershed Management for check dams, contour bunds, bandharas, micro-irrigation projects etc., Drip and Sprinkler irrigation are costly but they are the most suitable methods of irrigation for dry land farming.
  • Allied agricultural activities like animal husbandry is real income booster for dry land farming. Besides agroforestry with guava, custard apple, ber, pomegranates, drumsticks has successful examples.
  • Research and Development (R&D) on all the above areas is very essential to develop dry land farming similar to Israel.
  • Government has undertaken many programmes for rainfed areas such as—
  • National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA);
  • Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) which has merged Integrated Wastelands Development Programme, Drought Prone Areas Programme and Desert Development Programme.

NATIONAL WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT PROJECT FOR RAINFED AREAS (NWDRPA) | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Development of watersheds which is geo hydrological unit or a piece of land that drains at a common point has been accepted as a national approach and strategy for the development of dry land/ rainfed areas. For their integrated development and to provide them with area specific technologies, more than 13000 micro-water sheds were identified and this project was launched towards the end of seventh plan. The project covered 25 states and 2 UTs during the 8th plan. The Programme measures under NWDPRA include –
  • Treatment of arable and non-arable lands.
  • Treatment of drainage lines.
  • Production systems in arable and non-arable lands with emphasis on multiple/ mix/ strip cropping preferably of legume components; organic farming; dry land horticulture; agro forestry or farm forestry; life stock management and pasture development. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

DROUGHT PRONE AREAS PROGRAMME (DPAP) | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • DPAP was launched in 1973 with a view of limiting the damage to the rainfed areas due to drought. The basic objective of the programme is to minimize the adverse effects of drought on the production of crops, Livestock and on productivity of land, water and human resources. The programme also aims at promoting the overall economic development and improving the socio-economic conditions of the resource- poor and disadvantaged sections who inhabit the areas covered under the programme. This is sought to be done by undertaking activities to reduce the severity of drought by containing the degradation of land and improving its productivity. The various schemes/activities undertaken under DPAP are –
  1. Promoting dry-land agriculture with suitable cropping patterns on the basis of agro-climatic conditions.
  2. Development and productive use of water resources of the area through micro-watershed development approach.
  3. Soil and water conservation measures and land improvement measures to check degradation.
  4. Afforestation including farm forestry.
  5. Livestock development including development of pastures and fodder resources.
  6. Promotion of allied activities like horticulture, sericulture etc.

DESERT DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (DDP) | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Desert areas in the country reflect most acute form of ecological degradation marked by aridity i.e. lack of moisture, shifting sand and severe wind erosion and scant vegetation. The DDP launched in 1977-78 is designed to control the process of desertification and restoration of ecological balance in covered areas so as to improve the living conditions of the people inhabiting these areas. The programme covers both the hot areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana and the cold desert areas of J & K, HP from 1995-96. The coverage has been extended to few more districts in AP and Karnataka. The programme aims at harnessing, conserving and developing natural resources i.e. land, water and vegetation to raise land productivity, arrest further degradation and restore ecological balance. The main activities undertaken in DDP are‑
  • Sand dune stabilization.
  • Shelter belt plantation.
  • Conservation of surface water.
  • Efficient water resource management.
  • Afforestation
  • Grasslands and pasture development.
  • Horticulture
  • Animal husbandry.

Currently the programme is under implementation in 227 blocks of 36 districts in 7 states.

CROP SEASONS |AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • There are three main crop seasons, broadly based on the common rhythm of monsoon all over the country. They are:
  • Kharif — This is the rainy season starting with the onset of monsoon. These crops require much water and a long hot weather for their growth and are therefore, sown as soon as the south-west commences. The sowings made in may-July are harvested in September- October. The principal crops grown are Jowar, Bajra, cotton, sugarcane, sesame, groundnut and pulses
  • Rabi — This season coincides with the winter season. Due to lesser amount of water supply from rainfall, crops requiring less water are cultivated. These crops need relatively cool climate during their period of growth but warm climate during seed-germination and crop maturity time. Thus, they are sown in October-November and harvested in February-April. The main crops are wheat, gram, barley, potato and oil seeds such as linseed, rapeseed and mustard.
  • Zaid — This is the summer cropping season where short duration crops are grown mainly under artificial irrigation. These crops are sown at the beginning of the summer season and harvested in April-June. The main crops are rice, maze, groundnut, and vegetables, fruits (water melon and melon). Moong pulse is a late addition to summer season crops with development of new seeds.
  • TYPES OF CROPS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES
  • Food crops — this category includes crops which serve as food for man, and all food grains and pulses and most oilseeds are included gee. This category is further divided into sub-groups like food grains, pulses, oil seeds and beverages etc.
  • Subsistence crops — this group includes the crops that farmer grows primarily for their own consumption. Only small portion of the crop enters the market. E.g. cultivation of rice in West Bengal.
  • Commercial crops — They are grown mainly for the market purposes and only small portion is consumed by home e.g. Cotton and sugarcane.
  • Plantation crops – In case of some crops, the crop is planted once and then it provides yield or harvest like an industry. The most important plantation crops are coffee, rubber, coconut and spices.
  • Spices — It includes crops like pepper, Cardamom, red chilies and turmeric. They are generally grown as cash crops. Some of them are plantation crops also.
  • Fiber crops — These crops are also generally grown as cash crops. They yield fibers that are used for making textiles or packaging material etc. The most important fiber crops of India are jute and cotton.
  • Fodder crops – These are crops harvested generally when green and used as cattle fodder. Berseem is one example of such a crop. Some fodder crops yield grain if they are allowed to mature as is in the case of Jowar. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

TYPES OF CULTIVATION | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Depending on environment, different types of cultivation systems operate in India. Most of the cultivation in India is of sedentary type. The same land is cultivated year after year under this system. This practice is opposite to that of sifting cultivation which implies abandoning land after a few years in favor of a new patch of land. This latter practice is common among tribals of MP, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and most part of north eastern regions.
  • Another type of farming common to India is that of terrace farming which is practice along the mountainous region. Step like terraces are cut on the mountain slopes to obtain narrow strips of flat lands for cultivation. Width of the terraces depends upon the steepness of the slope- being more on gentle slopes. This is a method of preventing soil erosion. Mixed farming, mixed cropping, irrigated or wet farming is some other typical farming practices in operation in India.
  • Most of the Indian farming is of intensive type. This is primarily a result of high pressure of population on land. Another important fact about farming in the country is that it lays great emphasis on cultivation of food grains. Rice and wheat are the chief food grains raised in India. However a number of cash crops are also grown in different parts of the country. Cotton, sugarcane, tobacco and tea are some of the important cash crops of India.

GREEN REVOLUTION | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Green revolution refers to the development and use of such HYV seeds during the decade of 1960 which led to phenomenal increase in the output of food crops. In India, green revolution denotes a positive change in agriculture brought about by the substitution of traditional techniques and methods of cultivation by modern ones. HYV seeds of wheat and rice were introduced by scientists led by Dr. Norman Borlang, Mexico and International Rice Research Institute, Manila, Philippines, respectively.
  • In India, after the success of pilot projects in 1960, the Intensive Agricultural Areas Programme (IAAP) was started in 1965 whose strategy was introduction of fertilizer responsive HYV seeds aided by injection of large capital and technological inputs first in selected high potential areas and subsequently to enlarge its coverage to other parts of the country. The success of HYV programme depended on availability of other inputs like fertilizers, irrigation and plant protection measures. The New Agricultural Policy in 1966-67 aimed at accelerated short term foodgrains production to achieve self sufficiency. Its main components were —
  • Introduction of HYV seeds
  • Development of surface and particularly ground water potential
  • Proper use of fertilizers (chemical)
  • Use of insecticides and pesticides
  • Land reforms
  • Command Area Development
  • Use of farm machineries
  • Provision of cheap agricultural credit facilities
  • Improvement in marketing and storage facilities
  • Diversification of agriculture
  • Remunerative prices (MSP) for agricultural commodities
  • Establishment of agricultural universities and institutes for Research and Development AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

Impact of Green Revolution — Achievement

  • Increase in agricultural production and productivity. Total food grains production has increased from 125 million tons in 1970 to more than 250 million ton in 2012. Productivity too has increased relatively. Today India is in position to export staple foodgrains. HYV seeds have spread to non-traditional centres of production e.g. rice in Punjab, wheat in peninsula.
  • Intensification of agriculture-double cropped area has increased.
  • Market oriented agriculture-farmers have moved from subsistent to market oriented, demand driven agriculture particular in Green Revolution belt.
  • Increase in income — Green revolution has generated more employment. Every year poor people from different parts of country migrate to GR belt during agricultural season. The income of farmers and landless labourers has increased.
  • Industrial growth and innovation — Agro based and small scale industries have increased. GR has also stimulated innovations in seeds, production.

Side effects of Green Revolution | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Inter-crop, Inter-personal and Inter-regional disparities: Green Revolution has benefited only wheat and rice (production increased 6 and 3 times the level of 1950) and to same extent maize and bajra. It has left out the crucial pulses, oilseeds fodder crops and cash crops.

The gains of green revolution have been limited to selective regions of the country i.e. Punjab, Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and some selected districts of Andhra Pradesh, western Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. It is yet to gain viability in other parts of the country.

Also the green revolution has benefited only big land holders (> 10 ha) which constitute only 4% of Indian peasantry and has helped in the concentration of rural wealth. The situation of small and marginal farmers, landless labourers has remained same or in fact worsened due rise in cost of agricultural inputs, increased dependence o these inputs and increased non-resilience of rainfall and soil due to climate change. Though farm mechanization is need of modern agriculture, it is at the same time causing large scale labour displacement and unemployment in rural areas.

  • Ecological Impact: The indiscriminate and unscientific use of ground water resources and application of chemical fertilizers and insecticides have led to environmental crisis in such areas. The gradual loss of soil fertility, increasing alkalinity and salinity, water logging, depletion of ground water resources, decreasing biodiversity, chemical poisoning of soils, surface water, plants and food stuffs are some of the emerging problems in areas of Green Revolution.
  • Stagnating productivity: Recent studies are showing that agricultural productivity in Green Revolution areas has either become stationary or even showing a declining trend. Besides in spite of Green Revolution, India’s agricultural productivity has not been equivalent of international standards. These factors have necessitated bringing second green revolution.

SECOND GREEN REVOLUTION | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • The current growth rate of agricultural sector in Indian economy is only 2-3% per year. It’s productivity is well below international standards. On the other hand the need for food is constantly growing due to increasing population and changing dietary habits. We are also talking about implementing the Right to Food for everybody. The challenge of food security is being threatened by the effects of climate change as well as growing use of biofuels made from food crops such as maize. Against these odds, we have already used up most of the cultivable land. There is no scope for bringing new land under cultivation. All these factors demand from us to increase the productivity from available land. There is a need to raise it by launching Second Green Revolution. The Second Green Revolution would have to be knowledge based, scientifically managed and should improve agricultural efficiency. National Commission on Farmers 2005, Eleventh Five Year Plan, etc. have given their suggestions on Second Green Revolution. The Government too has initiated many programmes and set targets in this direction. Some suggestions and initiatives are given below:
  • Green Revolution should be popularized to new areas by developing the HYV seeds suitable to micro-ecological conditions for crops and requisite infrastructural support. For example, the government has successfully started Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI) in seven States of eastern India to increase foodgrain production.
  • Greater attention should be given to increase the production of pulses oilseeds, coarse grains and cash crops. HYV seeds for these crops need to be urgently developed. Although the government has started National Food Security Mission (NFSM) for wheat, rice and pulses, there is need for crop diversification. The agriculture ministry has prepared extensive programme in 12th five year plan to increase oilseeds production and to enhance oil palm cultivation under Programme on Oil Palm Area Expansion (POPAE). National Horticulture Mission (NHM) was launched in Tenth Five Year Plan.
  • Conservation of surface and ground water resources is the priority need as water is going to be most scarce resource. Drip and Sprinkler irrigation needs to be supported.
  • Alternative farming involving organic farming, Integrated and Balanced Nutrient Management, Integrated Pest Management are very effective solutions to increase the stagnated production level in traditional Green revolution belt and other areas. It will help to create and capture new market also. The National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) needs to be given greater thrust.
  • Dry-land farming being present on 70% of the cropped area need to be researched upon and supported to have real Green Revolution in the country as a whole.
  • Efforts to preserve biodiversity in order to have diverse species of food crops which are suitable for diverse agro-climatic conditions (such as salinity, dry land, wet land) as well as pest resistance. Mono-cropping decreases pest resilience.
  • Co-operative farming particularly for small and medium land holders to make agriculture viable for providing credit, mechanization etc.
  • Balanced pricing mechanism to make agriculture profitable.
  • Lastly, proper improvement in infrastructural facilities such as land reforms, rural transport and communication, rural electrification, banking, marketing and storage facilities, crop insurance, agricultural research and training, etc. as suggested by M.S. Swaminathan, father of Green Revolution in India.

The Government of India announced New Agricultural Policy in 2004. It is also called ‘Rainbow Revolution’ as it encompasses new strategies on Green Revolution, White Revolution and Blue Revolution.. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

AGRICULTURAL REGIONS |AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

A number of agricultural scientists have attempted to delimit the agricultural regions of India using a variety of criteria’s. One of the popular schemes provided by Randhawa is briefly outlined here‑

  • Temperate Himalaya region- Due to climate and accompanying variation in crop this region is further divided in two sub regions.
  • The eastern Himalayan region- This region is wet and the rainfall here is more than 250 cm including Upper Assam, Sikkim and Mishmi hills. This region is largely covered with forests. Tea plantation on hill slopes and paddy cultivation in low lands are the major agricultural activities.
  • The western Himalayan region — this region is climatically dry and this includes Kullu, Kangra and Kashmir valleys and Garhwal, Kumaon and Shimla hills. Horticulture crops of apples, almonds and apricots are important in the high land areas. In relatively lower parts and on gentler slopes are cultivated the crops such as potato, maize and paddy.
  • Northern Dry or Wheat region- This region has a rainfall of less than 75 cm and the soils are alluvial and sandy. Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, UP and western MP are included in this region. Wheat, maize and cotton are the chief crops. Sugarcane and rice are grown in irrigated area.
  • Eastern wet (or rice) region- This is the area of more than 150 cm rainfall. Soil is alluvial in some parts and deltaic in others. This region includes West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, AP, TN, Chhattisgarh and the states of the northeast including Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram. Rice is the staple crop of this region. Other crops include tea, jute and sugarcane.
  • Western wet region or Malabar region — This region includes Kerala, Karnataka and adjoining parts with more than 200 cm rainfall. This is the region of laterite soil. Plantation crops and rice are dominate crops are dominant crops. This region produces coconut, cashew nuts, Arecanut, rubber, pepper and Cardamom. Rice is the dominant food crop of this region also.
  • Southern region or the millet region- receiving an annual rainfall of 50 to 100 cm this region includes parts of MP, AP, western TN, eastern Maharashtra, south Gujarat and parts of Karnataka. The south extreme part of Uttar Pradesh also comes under this region. Soils in this part are partly black and partly laterite and red soil. Jowar, Bajra, Cotton, Ragi, Groundnut and tobacco are the chief crops of this region. Much of the production of citrus fruits also comes from this region. Coarse grains are the staple food of the large majority of the people of this region.

IMPORTANT CROPS | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

Variations in the physical environment and preferences for various types of food in India have resulted in a large number of crops being grown. The chief crops, geographical conditions of growth and important producing areas are briefly discussed here‑

  • Rice – Growing best in the area of warm, humid climate, rice requires temperatures between 20°C and 35°C and well distributed rainfall of about 100 cm or irrigation facilities. The soil should be fertile. Delta and valley soils are most suitable. Soils with higher clay content are preferred for its cultivation due to their better moisture retention capacity. The major rice producing states are West Bengal, UP, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and TN. Punjab and Haryana produce a surplus of rice. Rice is grown by different methods transplanting, broadcasting and drilling are the chief methods of its cultivation. The important high yielding varieties include IR-8, Jaya, Padma, Hamsa, Sabarmati and IET 1039.
  • Wheat — Ranking after rice in terms of both area and production wheat is grown widely as it can adapt to variety of environmental conditions. In India it is grown mainly in the northern plains during the cool season and the ideal temperature for its cultivation is about 15 to 20° Wheat requires a moderate amount of rainfall of 25 to 75 cms and can be grown even in dry areas with the help of irrigation. Well drained loam and-clayey soils are ideal. The major wheat producing states are UP, Punjab, Haryana, MP and Rajasthan. Sonalika, Kalyan Sona and Sabarmati are some of the high yielding varieties of wheat.
  • Maize – Introduced in India in the 17th century, maize can also be grown over a wide variety of areas. Ideal temperature of this crop is about 35° It requires about 75 cms of rainfall and thrives best of the fertile alluvial and red soils having good drainage. It can be grown on mountainous soils too. Alternates spells of rains and sunny weather are ideal for maize. The highest concentration of this crop is found in UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab and MP.
  • Bajra – It is an important millet crop grown in India. It thrives in area of warm, dry climate. It requires annual rainfall of 45 cm and temperature ranging between 25 to 30° This crop is grown generally on poor soils. Sandy loams with good drainage are ideal. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Haryana are the chief producers of this crop.
  • Jowar – important millet, Jowar is an important food grain for the people of the peninsular region. This crop requires moderate rainfall of 30 to 100 cms and high temperatures ranging from 20 to 320C. Both excessive moisture and a prolonged drought are harmful. Well drained light soils are ideal. The leading producers are Maharashtra, Karnataka; MP and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Barley — This is the crop grown in wheat producing area on the poor soil and the area of lower precipitation. Although the geographical conditions required for its cultivation are similar to those for wheat. It has more tolerance for adverse environmental conditions. The major producers are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and MP. This is grown mainly as dry crop.
  • Sugarcane – India is considered the original homeland of sugarcane and is a leading producer in the world. The country also has the largest area under sugarcane in the world. This a long maturing crop planted usually between February and April. Harvesting begins in October and November. Well mannered medium and heavy soils where irrigation facilities are available are ideal for its cultivation. The monsoonal climate is suitable as sugarcane requires continuously warm temperature of about 25°C and frost is fatal to the crop. It requires a rainfall of 100 to 150 cm and assured irrigation facility. It is a soil exhausting crop and thus needs regular application of manure or fertilizers. The most important producers of sugarcane are UP, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Cotton – Cotton is an important fiber crop of India and Cotton fiber is obtained from the fruit balls of the plant. It is one of the most important industrial crops of India. The greatest concentration of the crop acquires in the areas with precipitation between 50 to 80 cm and temperature between 20 to 35° Cotton can be grown in drier areas too with the help of irrigation. The deep and medium black soils of the Deccan and Malwa Plateau are considered ideal though it can be grown on alluvial and red soils as well. Clear sky during the picking season is ideal. The largest producers of Cotton are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, MP, Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, TN and Karnataka. India has the distinction of developing the first high breed of cotton in the world. Presently India is also one of the leading producers of Bt cotton in the world.
  • Jute — Jute fiber is obtained from the bast (inner bark) of the plant and has been the highest foreign exchange earning crop of India. Jute needs a warm, humid climate with temperature of 25 to 300C and rainfall of 100 to 200 cms. It is an exhaustive crop like sugarcane and lowers soil fertility rapidly. Therefore rich delta and alluvial soils that receive fresh silt regularly are most suitable. The chief jute producing states are West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Orissa and Tripura. Jute cultivation in India has recently suffered due to reduced demand as a result of increasing competition with artificial fiber and packaging material.
  • Oil seeds – Most oilseeds are grown as dry crops or in association with other crops e.g. mustard is grown with wheat. The main oilseeds grown in India are groundnut, coconut, linseed, sesame, mustard, rapeseed, castor seed and coconut. The smaller oilseeds are grown in the north, mainly in Gujarat, MP< Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana and the larger seeds in the south mainly Kerala, TN, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, of soya beans MP, of mustard and rapeseeds Rajasthan and of sunflower Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Coconuts are grown in the southern coastal region in the states of Kerala. Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat is the leading producer of castor seed and Chhattisgarh in linseed.
  • Pulses — mainly dry crops, they are grown in MP, UP, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana in the north and Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the south. Gram is one of the leading crops of this group. Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are important producers of gram.
  • Tea – Tea is a plantation crop and it is one of the chief items of India’s export trade. It is grown mainly on hill slopes where heavy precipitation occurs —more than 150 cms of rainfall and average temperature are between 25 and 35° Standing water is harmful for this plant. The largest producers of tea are Assam and West Bengal followed by the Nilgiris hill (Tamil Nadu) regions in the south. Some tea cultivation is done in the hills of the western Himalayas in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, but the total production from these areas is very small. Tea plantation has been started in Sikkim.
  • Coffee — Like tea, it is also a beverage crop. The coffee plant requires almost the same conditions a tea bush requires. In addition it needs protection from the direct rays from the sun. It is normally cultivated 900 to 1800 meters above sea level. Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh produce almost the entire coffee grown In India. Coffee cultivation was introduced in the north-eastern region also, mainly in Mizoram. However, due to marketing problems, it could not become popular in that region.
  • Rubber – Rubber requires high temperatures of around 35°C and more than 200 cm rainfall. Kerala is the largest producer, accordingly for more than 90% of the total production followed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Silk – Although India produces many varieties of raw silk; mulberry and tassar are the most important. The chief producers are Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Assam. Bihar leads in the production of tassar silk.
  • Tobacco – Tobacco requires temperatures of 15° to 40°C and rainfall of over 50 cm or irrigation facilities. Fertile soils with good drainage are ideal as it is an exhaustive crop. The major producers of the crop are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. The two popular varieties of Tobacco grown in India are Nicotina Tabacum and Nicotina Rustics. Virginia tobacco used for making cigarettes is grown in Andhra Pradesh.

AGRICULTURE – ALLIED ACTIVITIES | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

HORTICULTURE

Horticulture which crops such as fruits, vegetables, spices, medicinal and aromatic plants, flowers, plantation crops etc is an important sector for potential diversification and value addition in agriculture. Horticultural crops especially fruits are now beginning to receive attention in view of its great potential. Various horticultural crops are now being grown in varied agro-climatic conditions.

Steps taken by Gol for promoting Horticulture

  • Under a central sector scheme for the integrated development of horticulture, the government provides assistance to farmers in the form of inputs (fruit seeds, pesticides etc) at subsidized rates. The other form of assistance under the program includes technical advice through training and demonstration on improved technology,’ financial assistance in the form of subsidized loans etc.
  • Research is provided through ICAR and agricultural universities. Assistance is provided to these agencies by the government for enhanced production of quality seeds/ planting material. The benefits of scientific advancement serve as important incentives for farmers to adopt horticulture in a big way for example development of many hybrid mangoes have led to marked increase in productivity of Mango and transfer/ extension of these technologies to farmers has been reason for this success.
  • A central sponsored scheme for the development of fruits provided assistance for production of fruits sampling, area expansion, rejuvenation of old and unproductive orchards and training to farmers.
  • A central sector scheme for use of plastic in the agriculture, exclusively for horticulture crops has been under operation providing financial assistance for use of drip irrigation system, green houses, plastic mulches etc.
  • Nutritional garden scheme of the national horticultural board- provides assistance for planting fruit trees in household premises of rural areas.
  • Post harvesting infrastructure is being strengthened under the horticulture development scheme of both central and state government. Packaging, storage and quick transportation to markets are given due importance.
  • Financial assistance is made available to horticultural producers cooperatives and other agencies involved in production/ post harvest/ marketing of horticultural products under various external assistance programmes ( of agencies like World bank, EEC etc).
  • A centrally sponsored integrated program for development of spices provides assistance in the form of planting material, seeds, mini-kits, input kits, rehabilitation of old spice gardens, maintenance of demonstration gardens of spices etc.
  • A central sector scheme for development of floriculture provides development measures such as setting up model floriculture centers, assistance for plant material and inputs, assistance for area extension, training to farmers in production and post harvest management and export promotion etc.
  • A National Horticulture Mission (NHM) has been launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to promote holistic growth of the horticulture sector through an area based regionally differentiated strategies. The scheme is fully funded by the Government and different components proposed for implementation financially supported on the scales laid down. It is an instrument to facilitate the horticulture development in India

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY AND DAIRYING | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

Rearing of livestock is an important and as old an aspect of agriculture as rising of crops. In India animal husbandry is very important since time immemorial. India owns the largest livestock population in the world, animal husbandry’s role in Indian economy is important as it plays prominent role in the rural economy. Over the years the contribution has increased from 17 to 29% of agricultural GDP. Further it is also an important source of employment of rural sector.  Moreover it also has great potential of export earnings. It also helps in augmenting food supply and providing nutritional value to our people in the form of milk, meat and eggs. It also provides raw material for the growing needs of various industries producing mass consumption products like wool, leather products.

  1. Dairy

Cattle and buffalo India possesses 27 acknowledged breeds of cattle and seven breeds of buffaloes. Some exotic breeds like Jersey, Holstein — Friesian, Brown Swiss etc have also been introduced in India. The good breeds are concentrated largely in the less wet parts of Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. These states account for about 25% stock in the country. Cattle density for the county as whole is about 12.8 animals per 100 hectare of gross cropped area. The largest numbers of cattle are found in MP followed by UP, Maharashtra. The highest livestock density in the country is in Maharashtra followed by Haryana, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Various Central schemes are being implemented with a view to increasing the per capita availability of milk through increased milk production. The following measures are-:

  • Schemes for genetic improvements of cattle and buffalo include production of superior pedigree bulls. National butt production programme and programme for extension of frozen semen technology and progeny testing provide 100% central assistance to states for implementation. Seven central cattle breeding farms are engaged in scientific breeding programme. The cross-breeding programme has led to the development of new strains of cattle like Karan Fries Cow ‘Kamdhenu’ which provides 44.2 Kg Milk per day at peak of lactation.
  • Schemes for preserving the indigenous cattle and buffalo in their native tract, which are facing extinction are also being implemented through central assistance.

White Revolution – Dairy Development

To overcome the problems in increasing milk production Operation Flood was launched in 1970 and after its success another massive programme of integrated dairy development under Operation flood II was launched in 1978. In 1996, the operation flood programme completed its phase III too and overall the world’s largest integrated dairy development programme has made considerable progress in achieving its outlined objectives. The central Frozen Semen Production and training Institute at Hessarghata is one of the premier organization in the country engaged in multiplying high pedigreed animals.

Feeder and Fodder Development: For improvement of vast livestock resources through scientific development, availability of nutritious feed and feeder is essential. To make available scientific fodder production technology seven regional stations have been established in different agro-climatic zones. Moreover under a centrally sponsored scheme assistance is provided to states for establishing and strengthening, fodder seed farms, fodder banks, grass land development, enrichment of straw and cellulosic waste.

  1. Poultry Development

The poultry production in the country has made significant progress over the years due to research and development thrust of the government as well as the organized private sector. Egg production has increased from 1.8 billion in 1950-51 to 10 billion in 1980-81 to 31 billion in 2000-01. The government has also established poultry performance testing centers that conduct egg laying and broiler tests and provides useful information to poultry farmers, hatcheries and breeding organizations about performance of various breeds of poultry. Central poultry training institutes at Hessarghatta is imparting short term practical courses in different disciplines of poultry. Various steps have been taken by the government to make available adequate quantity of maize (an important poultry feed ingredient) at reasonable prices through NAFED process technologies like chicken roll, fried chicken wings and egg crust pizza have been developed for commercial production and marketing with a view to get addition and higher income by catering to high value by products demand.

  1. Sheep and Goat Development

It is estimated that about 5 million households in the country are engaged in the rearing of small rumens. The major factors for low productivity are poor exploitation of genetic potential, low absorption of available technology, inadequate feed and fodder resources, insufficient health cover, inadequate marketing and credit support etc. To overcome these problems, the government has undertaken sheep and goat development programmes, concentrating on improving the volume and quality of wool through cross-breeding and other supporting developments. A Central sheep Breeding farm with exotic breed of sheep has been established at Hisar which has various programmes for cross breeding and superior breeding. It distributes exotic crossbreds’ sheep varieties to different states and also provided to state governments on a half sharing basis for strengthening sheep/goat farms

  1. Production, Processing and Export Of Meat

For comprehensive development of ‘animal husbandry, a centrally sponsored scheme is being implemented in the 9th plan. Under this scheme, assistance is provided to states for modernization of abattoirs, carcass utilization centres and hides flaying units. The objective is to provide wholesome and hygienic meat, gainful utilization of animal by-products and prevention of environmental pollution and cruelty to animals. The government is also running a programme of central assistance for integrated piggery development, especially in view of tremendous export potential for pig meat products.

  1. Fisheries

Fisheries sector plays important role in the socio-economic development of the country. It has been recognized as an important income and employment generator. This is an important source of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population of the country particularly in the coastal areas. It has acted as an important source of employment generation through establishment of number of subsidiary industries. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

Steps taken by Gol

  • In recognition of the important role of inland fisheries in overall production of fish and its growing share therein, the government has been implementing two important programmes in inland sector since 5/6th There are Fish Farmers development Agencies and National Programme for fish seed development. While FFDAs provide a package of technical, financial and extension support to fish farmers; under NPFSD fish feed hatcheries have been commissioned for augmenting the supply of quality fish seed and making them available for cultivation to farmers. The FFDA also provide assistance to farmers in the form of arranging inputs like fish feed and implements and also imparting training for tank and pond improvement for fish culture.
  • The government has adopted various measures for increasing production through bringing more and more areas under intensive fish culture. These include surveys, exploitation of reservoirs, development of riverine fisheries, improvement of village ponds for aquaculture etc. Under World Bank project, more than one lakh hectares of inland water was developed for inland fisheries in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and MP.
  • A scheme for development of reservoir fisheries in co-operative sector was
    adopted for developing this inland source with great aquaculture potential.
  • Another scheme for bringing more areas under aquaculture is the scheme for development of brackish water aquaculture. The objective of this scheme is to utilize the country’s vast brackish water area for shrimp culture. Assistance under the scheme is provided in the form of financial, technical and extension support to farmers.
  • With continuous investments in developing of fishery science and research breeding technologies for commercially important varieties of fish have been perfected. Modern technologies for repeated spawning, advancing or delaying spawning and off season spawning have revolutionized fish breeding and production. Composite fish culture has also revolutionized the productivity in inland fisheries.

Development of Marine Fisheries

  • Currently, exactly half of India’s fish production is from marine sources with coastal fishing constituting the bulk of this sector and only 2% coming from deep-sea resources. The following measures have been taken under various programmes for development of marine fisheries in India‑
  • The government is providing subsidy to poor fishermen for motorizing their traditional craft, which increases the fishing area and frequency of operation.

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  • Five major fishing harbours, 30 minor fishing harbours and 130 fish landing centres have been constructed and developed for providing landing and berthing facilities to fishing crafts.
  • Measures have been taken to locate new grounds through exploratory and experimental fishing in off shore areas. For harvesting the under-exploited offshore resources, new generation offshore boats were introduced in east coast states on a pilot basis. Fishery survey of India is the nodal organization responsible for survey and assessment of fishery resources under the Indian Exclusive Economic zone.
  • Integrated fisheries project, Kochi, envisages processing, popularizing and best marketing of unconventional varieties of fish with the aim of enhancing supply.
  • Programmes for development of prawn farms were implemented under which emphasis was laid on up gradation of technology for intensive prawn farming.
  • Steps have been taken for induction of new technology and value addition in marine products. Processing of marine products into canned and frozen forms is carried out almost entirely for the export market.
  • Welfare programmes are implemented for the benefit of traditional fishermen which include
  • Group accidental insurance for active fishermen.
  • Development of model fishermen villages by providing houses, tube wells and community halls;
  • Savings cum relief scheme for providing income security to fishermen during off season lean period.
  • Vessel operators, technicians and fishing implements are made available for deep sea fishing and training is provided to fishermen on various aspects of deep-sea fishing.

FOOD SECURITY | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

Agriculture in India still accounts for 52% of employment, 12% of national export and 17.8% of GDP. Over the next four decades, the world population will grow by 2.3 billion. Meeting the demand of 9.1 billion inhabitants in 2050 will require 70% more-food than we currently produce. At the same time world food system will have to cope with challenge of climate change which may reduce the potential agriculture output by up to 30% in Africa and 21% in developing countries. The sector will have to deal with a small agricultural labour force, as some 600 million peoples will move from country side to cities. The country has achieved a fourfold increase in food grains from 50 mt in 1950 to 219.3mt in 2007-08 against a threefold increase in population from 33 million to more than 100 million. Today, India has become the largest producer of milk, vegetables, fruits, fish and eggs. But, what a tragedy in a country which is the one of the largest producer of food in the world, nearly 300 million go without two square meals a day.

Food security is the “the access of all people to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”. It has four basic components: availability, accessibility utilization and stabilization. The four components of food security viz. availability, is a function of production, accessibility is related to purchasing power, utilization is determined by the availability of minimum basic needs i.e. safe drinking water, primary health care, primary education, proper housing facilities, environmental hygiene and fourth one, stabilization is influenced by the extent of attention given to the sustainability of the system. The challenge of meeting the food requirement of ever increasing population and plateauing productivity of agriculture can only be met through sustainable agriculture. This will involve approaches like integrated nutrient management, Integrated pest management, Integrated disease management, eco agriculture, increased investment in Agro-infrastructure, improving farm productivity by crop diversification, developing suitable site specific farming system models; developing innovative methods like System of Rice Intensification, removal of barriers to both internal as well as external trade, institutional reforms, input provisioning, greater thrust on rain fed areas, value addition, research and development particularly on the impact of climate change on agriculture and stream lining the Public distribution system for an effective delivery mechanism

MAJOR CHALLENGES BEFORE INDIAN AGRICULTURE: | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Stagnation in Indian agriculture: A National survey shows that nearly 40% of farmers want to give up farming if an option was available. The reason is obviously low profit. Today, yields in India for almost all crops are stagnant and lower than other countries. Indian wheat yield in 2003-05 was 26.89q/ha while that of major wheat producing countries was 64.49q/ ha. Production of pulses decreased from 14.28 million tonnes in 1990-91 to 13.38 million tones in 2004-05. At 638 kilogram per hectare our yield is way below the best of the countries which produce 1800 kilogram of pulses per hectare. Indian rate of growth of rice production is least in Asia, even lower than Pakistan, Myanmar and Sri lanka
  • Small and marginal land holdings: The Indian economy is predominantly rural and agriculture oriented. Per capita availability of land in India has declined. Nearly 60% of the farmers on an average own 0.4 hectares, while another 20% on an average hold 1.4 hectares. This puts the population of small and marginal farmers at about 80% of the total. Such meager land holdings by a large majority of the farmers are neither viable nor sustainable for a country with billion plus mouths to feed. The declining trend in the average size of farm holdings also poses a serious problem.
  • Hunger and poverty: Our food grain production is now well over 220 million tonnes. We are facing double digit inflation in case of food items. There is an extremely high prevalence of hunger and malnutrition. At some places the poorest families are eating on alternative days. As we celebrate the 64th year of our independence, the rampant malnutrition, anemic mothers and stunted children indicate our failure to feed the empty stomachs. The international food policy research institute, Washington has placed India in the 66th position out of 88 countries for global hunger index. India ranks below all other South Asian nations, except Bangladesh; Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Sudan fared better than India. India has more states under ‘alarming to extremely alarming’ categories with Madhya Pradesh being the worst affected. No state in India is in the low to moderate hunger index’ category.
  • Food wastage: A recent headline that captured the attention of all was that food grains worth 580 billion got spoiled due to lack of storage facilities with the Food Corporation of India. It is no less than a sin to waste such huge quantities of food grains when millions in the country remain unfed and their daily ration of calories of many others is much below the minimum necessary for their survival. It necessitates looking for alternatives to Public Distribution System. The use of food stamps can be such alternative. Under this scheme the intended beneficiaries are provided with food stamps which recipients can exchange for an equivalent amount of food at any shop. The shopkeepers can get them credited in their Bank accounts. The biggest advantage of Food stamps is that it can plug the leakages associated with the PDS.
  • Little accountability in investment in agriculture research and education: We have the largest area under cultivation (161mh), have highest area under irrigation (55.8 mh), are one of world’s largest users of fertilizers, have a fairly high degree of farm mechanization and largest scientific men power with over 30000 scientists and technicians employed in about 40 SAU’s and near about 600 KVK’s in the country. But, still those varieties are popular that were developed 20 years ago. In 1997, ICAR developed 72 varieties of field crops. By 2001 the figure was reduced to 35.
  • Climate change: Threat of climate change looms large over Indian agriculture. This is due to global warming. A 10c increase in the temperature will reduce the duration of wheat and rice in north and western India by a week. This will result in reduction of rice yield by 4 to 5 quintals per hectare). The corresponding decrease in yield of the wheat will be 4 to 5 million tons. Day and night high temperatures are having an adverse effect on tilling of wheat plants. In Northern parts in December the night temperature continues to be 7-80c and day temperature is hovering about 200C in the country. At this stage the night temperature should not be more than 40 C and the day temperature should not be more than 14-160 C. High temperature at this stage of winter stunts the growth of wheat plants and affects the tillering process. In Haryana wheat production has declined from 4106 Kg per ha in 2000-01 to 3937 Kg per ha in 2003-04 with maximum temperature rising by 30C during February- March in last seven years. Besides affecting the productivity, Climatic change will result in the emergence of new insect pests, shifting the range of various species, decline in the milk production and increased susceptibility to various diseases.
  • Dry land agriculture: Dry land is home to more than 450 million farming people. It contributes 42% of total food grains especially coarse grains, 75% of pulses and oilseeds and 40% of wheat. Climate change would expand dry land by 11%. Dry lands are characterized by low level of fertility, low productivity, frequent crop failure, uneven and untimely rainfall, extensive holdings, prolonged dry spell and low moisture retention capacity.
  • Agro-Infrastructure: We still are lacking in the desired infrastructure for providing irrigation to the cultivable areas, technology for soil and moisture conservation, infrastructure for storing perishable products, road connectivity for bringing perishable products in the market at the earliest, chain of cold stores at the village level, small scale industries for value addition and water harvesting structures for conserving water.

ENSURING FOOD FOR ALL: PARADIGM SHIFTS DESIRED | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Promoting Farming system approach: Today, there is a need to improve the overall agricultural scenario with the multiple goals of growth, equity, employment and efficiency. The future food strategy depends on the conversion of green revolution to an evergreen revolution rooted in the principles of ecology, economic employment generation and social equity. We have entered a millennium where we have to abandon the old concept of a crop centered green revolution and substitute it with a ‘farming system’ centered evergreen revolution to produce more from the available land, water and labour. Farming system integrates enterprises like fishery, poultry, livestock, horticulture and others within the biophysical and socio-economic environment of the farmer to make it more profitable. It is considered to be not only a reliable way of obtaining a fairly high productivity but also a concept of ecological soundness leading to sustainable agriculture. This offers advantages such as better utilization of resources, recycling of farm wastes, sustainability, employment generation and reduction of risk. The future of Indian agriculture depends upon the development of specific farming systems as applicable to resource poor farmers and suited to different agro-ecological zones.
  • Strengthening Public Distribution System: Mahatma Gandhi wrote in ‘Young India’ in 1920, ‘We want to organize our national power not by adopting the best methods of production only, but by the best method of both production and distribution”. Public Distribution system needs immediate reform. It needs to be strengthened. To avoid the rotting of food grains in open, community grain storage banks should be established at the village level from which the people could get subsidized food grains against food coupons. The management of these storage banks should be decentralized to the local level with the active monitoring of PRIs. The ambit and scope of safety net programmes such as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Integrated Child Development Scheme, Mid Day Meal, and National Old Age Pension Scheme should be broadened to benefit more and more.
  • Thrust on Food processing: The food processing sector has been described by Prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh as the ‘sunrise sector’: It has potential to dramatically improve rural livelihoods, opportunities and employment and bridge rural urban divide. Our share in the international trade is just 2%. Level of processing in the country is extremely low i.e. 6% as compared to 60-80% in developed countries. There is high wastage and low value addition. Vision-2015 strategy aims to enhance the level of processing from 6 to 20%, increase value addition from 20 to 35% and to increase global trade from 2% to 3%.
  • Institutional Reforms: Consolidation of holdings to avoid further fragmentation and a proactive policy for small, marginal farmers and landless labourers through innovative mechanisms like cooperative farming, contract farming need to be devised. The extension system of the country has to reorient itself to the changing needs of the farming community. Public extension systems have not given the desired results. Private extension systems too are profit oriented. As such suitable public-private partnership models need to be put in place to effectively deliver the services to the farmers.
  • Provision of inputs: Supply of inputs such as seeds and fertilizers need top priority. Small farmers also need implements for timely sowing, weed control and post harvest management. Public and private sector seed agencies should be revamped to ensure seed production and distribution both qualitatively and quantitatively. Timely supply of inputs is more critical for dry land areas. Dry land areas need varieties which have a short growing period and are resistant to drought. A greater stress needs to be laid on development of watersheds in these areas to conserve water which is a scarce commodity. To combat the effects of global temperature rise researchers should investigate how to make the crops more resilient to environmental stress. Search for biotic and abiotic stress tolerant genes must be intensified to create a gene bank both for plants and animals for development of new heat drought and flood tolerant genotypes. This will also involve converting C4 plants to C3 type.
  • Removal of barriers to interstate trade: India being a founder member of WTO is supposed to undertake further economic reforms in agriculture. It will have to remove all the interstate and inter country tariff and non tariff barriers, abolition of restrictions on trade, opening future markets and protecting Patent rights. At the same time it will have to improve its competitiveness in the world market through quality produce.
  • Right to food: The universal declaration of Human rights of 1948 asserts in article 25(1) that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of himself and his family, including food”. Food and nutrition rights were subsequently reaffirmed in two major binding international agreements. In the international covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR), which came into force in 1976, article 11 says that, “The state parties at the present covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family” and also recognizes the fundamental right of everyone to be free from hunger. India is an active member of the United Nations and a state party to ICESCR. Hence there is an obligation to respect, protect and fulfill right to food of every citizen of India. The National Food Security (NFS) Bill is taking shape. The National Advisory Council has recommended that the Act should provide every family in the 200 most disadvantaged districts of the country with 35 Kg of rice or wheat at Rs 3 per Kg.
  • The challenge of meeting the food requirement of an ever increasing population can only be met by practicing sustainable agriculture, protecting natural resources from being degraded and polluted and using production technologies that conserve and enhance the natural resource base of crops. We need to look into the potential green revolution areas of Eastern Uttar Pradesh, North Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, which have been neglected so far. Without them, the battle for food security cannot be won. Some targets of opportunity in agriculture have been exploited, many more difficult ones lie ahead.

SUSTAINABLE FOOD SECURITY — | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Dr. M.S. Swaminathan
  • From 1947 onwards, achieving food security for all has been a national goal. Jawaharlal Nehru articulated this goal by emphasizing “everything else can wait, but not agriculture”. Food security is now defined as physical, economic, and social access to balanced diet, clean drinking water, environmental hygiene, and primary healthcare. Unfortunately, in spite of numerous government schemes and safety nets, under and malnutrition remain widespread in our country. Children and women suffer the most. In spite of all the progress we have made in industry and economic growth rate, our reputation in the field of eradication of hunger and malnutrition is poor. In the last decade, emphasis in relation to basic human needs has shifted from a patronage to a rights approach. Thus, we have now legal rights through Parliament. Currently, there is an ongoing exercise in developing a National Food Security Bill which will confer on every Indian the legal right to food.
  • To achieve sustainable food security, the following three dimensions of this problem need concurrent attention:
  • Availability of food – which is a function of production and where absolutely essential, import.
  • Access to food – which is a function of purchasing power and employment.
  • Absorption of food – in the body which is a function of clean drinking water, sanitation and healthcare.
  • Thus, food and non-food factors relating to food security need integrated attention. Fortunately, we have many schemes which address these issues. The Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission, the Total Sanitation Programme and the National Rural Health Mission can all ensure that whatever food is consumed is beneficial. The various employment generation schemes and more particularly, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Programme are helping to provide the minimum essential purchasing power. For increasing the availability of food, several steps have been taken such as the following :
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana with an outlay of Rs. 25000 crore.
  • National Food Security Mission with an outlay of about Rs. 6,000 crore.
  • National Horticulture Mission with an outlay of Rs 10,363.46 crore during the 11th Five-Year Plan period.
  • There are many other schemes dealing with different areas of production, such as soil healthcare, crop protection, and irrigation. In spite of all these schemes our agriculture is still very vulnerable to the behaviour of the monsoon. For example, during 2009 the widespread drought brought down the agricultural growth rate to – 0.2 per cent, as against the target of four per cent. Our country faces the challenge of producing food not only for 1.2 billion people, but also for about a billion farm animals. Nearly seventy per cent of our population lives in villages and their main sources of livelihood are crop and animal husbandry, fisheries, agro-forestry, agro-processing and agribusiness. Therefore, in our country agriculture is not merely a food producing machine but is the backbone of the livelihood security system of a majority of our population. This is why we should concentrate on building our food security system with home grown food. Importing food grains by a predominantly agricultural country like ours will have the same impact as importing unemployment and will lead to greater agrarian distress.
  • The National Commission on Farmers (2004-06) has provided a detailed strategy for the agricultural progress of India. The strategy has the following four components:
  • Defend the Gains already made in the heartland of the green revolution namely, Punjab, Haryana, and Western UP through conservation and climate resilient farming and agronomic techniques. Fortunately the Finance Minister has provided an initial grant for launching this programme during 2010-11.
  • Extend the Gains to the green but no green revolution areas such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Assam and Orissa. NCF has described this region as a “sleeping giant”. The large untapped production reservoir of this region should be tapped through an appropriate blend of technology, services, input and output rising policies and above all, farmers’ enthusiasm.
  • Make new Gains in rainfed areas which constitute nearly sixty percent of the cultivated area. Here again there is a considerable difference between potential and actual yields. Most of the pulses and oil seed crops are grown under rainfed conditions. An important requirement for success is rain water harvesting and watershed management. Jal Kunds should be spread all over the Northeast.
  • In addition to the above measures we should take steps to bridge the growing mismatch between production and post harvest technologies. We are not deriving benefit from the opportunities for value addition to primary produce and to agricultural biomass.
  1. A national grid of grain storages based on modern technology should be established as soon as possible. Food grain conservation strategy should start from villages where Community Grain Banks containing local grains like Jowar, Bajra, Ragi etc. can be established by Women’s Self Help Groups. At least at fifty locations in different parts of the country ultra modern grain storage structures, each capable of providing safe storage to a million ton of grains should be established.
  • Malnutrition persists in all parts of the country. Hidden hunger caused by the deficiency of micronutrients like iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin B12 is affecting over forty percent of our population. The most cost effective and speedy way for overcoming hidden hunger is by providing horticultural remedies to nutritional maladies. This can be done through mainstreaming nutrition in the National Horticulture Mission. A Home Science graduate well versed in the area of nutrition could be added to the staff of the Horticulture Mission in every one of the 128 agro-climatic regions in our country. Fortunately we have over a billion farm animals comprising cow, buffalo, sheep, goat, and poultry. Through crop livestock integrated farming it will be possible to shift from food to nutrition security. There are also vast opportunities for inland and coastal fisheries including aquaculture.
  • Food is the first among the hierarchical needs of a human being. Therefore, food security should have the first charge on the available financial resources. Spoilage of grains through lack of investment in storage is a sad reflection on our sense of priorities. A National Food Security Act giving legal rights to food can be implemented only by attending to the safe storage of both grains and perishable commodities like fruits, vegetables, and milk. At the same time animal nutrition will also require greater attention. Unfortunately, grazing land is fast shrinking. Animals are underfed, and are therefore low yielding. Animal food security is essential for human nutrition security.
  • Above all, we should prepare for meeting the challenge of climate change. Threats to agriculture, food and water security and the loss of livelihoods will be the most serious consequences of climate change. Even a one degree Celsius rise in mean temperature will affect wheat yield in the heartland of the green revolution, because of a reduction in duration, and reduced grain weight. Climate Refugees comprising of fisher and coastal communities will become internally displaced persons, in the event of sea level rise. The situation will be particularly serious in states like Kerala and Goa and cities like Mumbai where a large percentage of the populations live very near the shoreline. Anticipatory research and development are essential to strengthen our coping capacity to meet such challenges. I would like to indicate briefly some of the steps which should be included under the proposed National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture.

CLIMATE CHANGE & AGRICULTURE: Factors to cope with

  • Unfavourable changes in temperature.
  • Unfavourable changes in precipitation.
  • Snow Melt and floods.
  • Higher carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
  • Sea level rise.
  • Temperature: Impact of a rise in mean temperature by 1 to 2 degree Celsius

(Copenhagen Accord)

  • Wheat yield is a gamble in temperature. Major consequence of 1 degree Celsius rise in mean temperature will be a reduction in the growing period in the case of wheat, and greater risk of vector borne diseases in crops like potato.
  • Response measures should include shifting the breeding strategy to per-day rather than per-crop productivity in the case of wheat, and developing and spreading the True Potato Seed (TPS) methodology in the case of potato.
  • Rice has a wide range of adaptation. Short duration varieties or hybrids together with efficient agronomic practices like SRI should be promoted. Hybrid rice strains characterized by hybrid vigour in the development of the root system should be recommended.
  • In all crops, the problem of pests and diseases may become more serious. Plant protection measures should particularly be tailored to meet the threat to crops and farm animals arising from the outbreak of vector-borne diseases.
  • UNFAVORABLE ALTERATIONS IN PRECIPITATION | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES
  • Both drought and floods may become more serious. Building a sustainable water security system and spreading more crop and income per drop of water technologies should receive priority attention. Drought and high temperature tolerant crop varieties should be developed through Marker Assisted Selection, as well as genetic engineering. A good example is the work done at MSSRF, Chennai in transferring to crop plants genes for drought tolerance from Prosopis Juliflora and for salinity tolerance from Avicennia Marina.
  • In the case of floods, post-flood agricultural rehabilitation measure as well as flood tolerant rice varieties with the submergence (Sub) tolerant genes should be developed. After flood waters recede, crops like yellow-flesh sweet potato (rich in Vitamin A) Sathi maize (short duration) and sunflower, as well as fodder crops can be introduced.
  • To implement alternative cropping strategies based on different weather conditions, seed reserves should be built. Seed reserves are as important for crop security, as food grain reserves are for food security.
  • Drought and Flood Codes indicating the scientific strategies needed for reducing to the extent possible the adverse impact of drought on agriculture should be developed based on computer simulation models. The codes should spell out in implementable terms alternative cropping strategies and contingency plans. Along with Drought and Flood Codes, a Good Weather Code should be developed for each agro climatic region, in order to help in maximizing production during good monsoon season.
  • MEETING THE CHALLENGE OF SEA LEVEL RISE | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

The strategy should include the following components:

  • Developing Mangrove and non-mangrove bio-shields to minimize the impact of coastal storms and sea water inundation.
  • Promoting Sea Water Farming through agri-aqua farms.
  • Promoting Below Sea Level Farming, as already practibed by farmers in the Kuttanad area of Kerala.
  • Breeding salinity tolerant crop varieties for cultivation in coastal areas, based on genetic engineering techniques.
  • Preparing contingency plans for the resettlement of climate refugees.
  • 2010 marks the 80th anniversary of Gandhiji’s Dandi March (Salt Satyagraha), which emphasized that sea water is a social resource. 97% of the global water is sea water. We should launch a dynamic programme in the area of sea water farming involving salt tolerant crop varieties, agro-­forestry and marine aquaculture.
  • LIVESTOCK |AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

A Food and Fodder Security Pan should be developed to safeguard our Dairy, Poultry, Sheep, Wool and other animal based enterprises which are the ones coming to the rescue of families living in the desert and semi-arid areas. Fodder and Food Banks should be developed with the help of local self-help groups (SHGS).

MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION STRATEGIES | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

Mitigation efforts should include both carbon sequestration through green plants and building Soil Carbon Banks through fertilizer trees, which enhance soil nutrient status. Soil carbon enrichment will help to enhance fertilizer use efficiency and thereby help to reverse diminishing factor productivity. A Farm Pond to collect rain water, a biogas plant and a few fertilizer trees in each farm should be promoted in rainfed areas.

Adaptation Measures should include the steps already indicated. In addition, green house horticulture should be promoted to take advantage of higher carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. Arid and semiarid horticulture combined with animal husbandry, and agroforestry systems of land use, will help to enhance both livelihood and nutrition security.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT INFRASTRUCTURE | AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

  • Research and Training Centres for Climate Risk Management

According to ICAR, there are 15 major agro-climate zones and 128 mini-agro­climatic zones. We should establish in each of the 128 zones, a Research and Training Centre for Climate Risk Management. These can be virtual centres headed by an agricultural scientist with computer simulation capability. He/she should prepare computer simulation models of alternative weather probabilities and suggest how to checkmate the adverse effect. Each of these Centres should have the following facilities to convert plan into action.

  • A village Resource Centre with Satellite Connectivity established with the help of ISRO.
  • A Meteorological Station, capable of facilitating farm decisions on the basis of integrated weather forecasts.
  • A Seed Bank containing seeds of the alternative crops to be sown, if the first crop fails due to drought or flood.
  • A Fodder and Feed Bank to cater to the needs of Farm Animals.
  • A Grain Bank should be established adjoining each Centre particularly with reference to underutilized crops like millets, ragi etc as well as bajra, jowar and maize.
  • Capacity Building

The Research and Training Centre for Climate Risk Management should train at least one woman and one male member of every Panchayat as Climate Risk Managers. They should be well versed in the art and science of climate risk management. In each of the major agro-climatic zones, there should be warehousing and safe storage facilities at least for a million ton of food grains. Such a decentralized network of Grain Banks will help to respond quickly to urgent needs. We thus face many challenges on the farm front. We have to run twice as fast to stay where we are. The current obsession with bricks in institution building should give way to nurturing brains. We will then have a bright agricultural future. AGRICULTURE AND ALLIED ACTIVITIES

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