A Scale-Up For Future Indian Agro Ecosystem With Sustainable Agriculture
Resource exploitation, interest direction, technological development orientation, and institutional change are all integrated in a series of stages known as sustainable development, which improves both the present and the long-term capacity to meet human needs and aspirations.
Sustainable agriculture focuses on resource efficiency while minimizing environmental disruption, imbalance, and pollution to cultivate foods that are more beneficial to people. A green revolution has been brought about in India through the increased use of high yielding variety seeds. Intensive land use, however, without proper care to maintain its productive potential, leads to erosion, loss of organic matter, loss of porus soil structure, water logging, and the encroachment of hazardous salts and pollutants. The Indian government has made various initiatives to encourage the long-term development of agriculture. Currently, efforts are being made to increase soil fertility over time through the "Soil Health Card Scheme" and the implementation of the "Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana" for improved irrigation access and water efficiency. A new programme called "Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana" has been introduced and will be used started in 2016 for the Kharif crop to promote the organic farming system through the "Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana" and reduce risk in the agricultural industry. Sustainable agriculture practises must find a balance between environmental health and economic prosperity in order to promote social and economic equality. Good management of both natural and human resources is therefore essential. Simply put, sustainable agriculture refers to practises that will enable us to meet the food, fibre, and energy needs of both the present and the future generations of society.
In India, less than 4 percent of farmers used sustainable agriculture techniques.
While the Green Revolution's promotion of high-yielding seed and fertilizer varieties did relieve the shortage of food grains, its negative effects are now apparent in the form of degraded land, soil, and water quality as well as farmers declining incomes as a result of a high reliance on outside inputs. According to a report by the NITI Aayog, between 2011–12 and 2015–16, the yearly growth rate for all farmers income decreased from 5.52 percent to 1.36 percent.
It consists of a number of programmes that concentrate on agroforestry, rainfed areas, managing water and soil health, coping with the effects of climate change, and adaptation. In addition to NMSA, the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana and the Integrated Watershed Management Program support rainwater collection and precision farming practises like micro-irrigation.
Promoting Sustainable Agriculture may benefit from a range of strategies, from field visits to evidence-based storytelling.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoAFW) allocates about 0.8 percent of its budget to NMSA. The Central government spends 71,309 crores ($10 billion) year on fertilizer subsidies, which is in addition to the MoAFW's budget of 142,000 crores ($20 billion). Although the Indian government recognises the need to promote sustainable agriculture, the emphasis is still strongly biased toward agriculture that was inspired by the green revolution.
Steps to do in order to expand sustainable agriculture in India
Based on the learned insights, we suggest the following next actions for an evidence-based scale-up of sustainable agriculture in India.
- Increase the focus on information sharing and capacity building among farmers and agriculture extension personnel in terms of Sustainable Agricultural Practices. Utilizing and enhancing the enormous capability of already-existing local Civil Society Organizations would be a great first step.
- The way the government supports farmers needs to be changed. Shift incentives toward resource conservation by rewarding outcomes (such as total farm production and improved ecosystem services) rather than merely yields, as opposed to motivating resource-intensive farming through input-based subsidies. It will enable numerous farming techniques to prosper, including SAPSs.
- Support rigorous evidence creation utilizing long-term comparative evaluation (both resource-intensive and sustainable agriculture) taking changing settings into consideration in order to direct long-term resilient approaches to nutrition security. It would assist in scaling up SAPSs in a way that is based on evidence and takes context into account.
- Considering that the farming community has only been exposed to resource-intensive agriculture for the past 60 years, stakeholders should widen their perspectives to consider other options. A variety of strategies, including field trips and evidence-based storytelling, may be helpful.
- Additional long-term proof is necessary, too. Additionally, context-specific SAPSs should be scaled up using the most recent evidence. Because they now practise low-resource agriculture, have low productivities, and stand to gain the most from the move, rainfed areas may be the first to scale up. As positive results spread widely, farmers in irrigated areas will adopt a similar strategy.