India’s sustainable Agri transition
30th Jun, 2023
As per the Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) sustainable food systems programme report, Market access is critical for the success of India’s momentum towards organic and natural farming.
Key-highlights of the Report:
- It highlighted that how various stakeholders procure process and sell organic and natural produce while trying to ensure remunerative prices to farmers.
- The document also identified some of the challenges faced by them.
- Lack of market access is a barrier in India’s journey towards non-chemical farming practice.
- Under the report, CSE identified three categories of stakeholders —
- Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) and the federation of FPOs,
- Retail food corporations and
- State government programmes
The story of India’s Agri-transition:
- Till the early 1960’s, the predominant mode of cultivation was what is now called “organic farming”, with no synthetic fertilisers or pesticides available or known.
- Since the use of urea from the beginning of the 1960s, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium-based fertilisers became available after the establishment of industrial plants at Sindri (Bihar) Udyog Mandal (Kerala).
- Also, in this decade, synthetic pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), endrin, and others entered the market.
- Another spectacular discovery was that of the high-yielding hybrid wheat and rice.
- The high-yielding wheat was discovered by Norman Borlaug (Nobel Prize winner) and was rapidly adopted by India largely due to the pioneering work of Dr Swaminathan and MV Rao.
- Swaminathan is remembered as the ‘father of Green Revolution’ and Rao as the “wheat man of India”.
- Due to drought from 1964-70, India had to import food and became heavily dependent on the United States for wheat supplies under the Public Law 480 agreements.
- Ultimately, the Green Revolution was initiated. The theme of the initiative was to boost food grains production of rice and wheat using any method and at any cost.
Need for Organic Farming in India:
- Unsustainable: The need for organic farming in India arises from the unsustainability of agriculture production and the damage caused to ecology through the conventional farming practices.
- Self-destructive: The conventional method of farming adopted by other countries is inherently self-destructive.
- Damaging environment: The unsustainability of Indian agriculture is caused by the modern farming methods which have badly affected/damaged production resources and the environment.