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Sustainable agricultural development depends on the quality and availability of natural resources like soil and water.
India is aiming a farm growth rate of 4%. Farm growth can be sustained by promoting conservation and sustainable use of scarce natural resources through specific localised efforts.
In India 60% of the agriculture is rain fed and it accounts for 40% of the total food production. That is why the conservation of the natural resources along with the development of rain fed agriculture is essential to meet the demands of the growing population. For this, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture was formulated. The broad parameters of NMSA are enhancing agriculture productivity through:
- Integrated farming
- Water use efficiency
- Soil health management
- Resource conservation
This mission is a part of National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
GoI has identified 10 key components of sustainable agriculture, which broadly includes - improve crop seeds, live stock, fisheries, water use, pest management, nutrient management, agriculture insurance, credit, markets, access to information, and livelihood diversification.
The last SW Monsoon was below normal by 14%. Overall the monsoon was below 12% compared to last year. As a result there were a lot of demand side constraints, especially in the case of pulses.
The government has organised a national conference on sustainable agriculture in Sikkim.
Some of the steps taken by govt for sustainable agriculture
One of the important programmes taken up by the govt is Soil Health Cards. Soil Health Cards are issued to all farmers in 14 crore landholdings to promote soil test-based application of fertilizers and nutrients. Farmers will be given these cards, they will be told about the health of the soil, they will also be advised on the kind of crops they should have based on the health of the soil. They have to renew their cards every two years.
Another major scheme launched by the govt regarding sustainable agriculture is Neem Coated Urea. Only neem coated urea is going to be manufactured now.
The Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana is launched for promoting organic farming.
There is also PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, which aims at improving water use efficiency and providing irrigation.
There are also discussions on setting up of National Agriculture Market, a common e-market platform for providing long-term benefits to farmers. States have been asked to amend their respective APMC acts.
What needs to be done yet?
- Research and development in new seed varieties (temperature insensitive, drought tolerant etc.)
- Development of common manual for organic farming
- Privatisation of extension services
- Scientific validation of traditional farming knowledge and practises is needed, especially for pest management.