India International Science Festival (IISF) 2019: Experts advise sustainable, climate-smart, diverse farming

  • Category
    Governance
  • Published
    12th Nov, 2019

Context

Agricultural experts advised Indian farmers to switch to sustainable, self-sufficient, climate-smart and diverse agriculture to enhance their incomes at the ongoing India International Science Festival (IISF) in Kolkata on November 6, 2019.

About

  • Need of the hour is to increase income per acre of land with innovative community driven practices.
  • One acre can actually generate a lakh rupees for the farmer through cultivation of diversified crops, vegetables and fruits integrated with the region specific livestock and cattle.
  • Growing cost of inputs, through purchase of seeds, chemical fertilisers and pesticides was leading to increasing cost of cultivation, pushing small farmers to acute poverty. However, getting soil health cards can help farmers to learn about scientific the status of their soil and go for the right kind of fertilisers, necessary for their fields.

Addressing the problem

  • Concepts of roof top farming, window farming, processes such as straw mulching of mushrooms and vegetables can overcome the problem of reducing availability of land.
  • Add jaggery to organic pesticides would attract honeybees to the developing flowers of the fruit trees, resulting in more pollination.
  • Continuous use of organic fertilisers can also make the soil fertile, reverting it back to its natural bio-diverse health, and getting back insects, birds and earth worms.
  • Including cows in the process of organic farming is a sustainable solution to the problem and could effectively reduce cost of cultivation manifolds.
  • Use of cow urine and dung can increase soil fertility and growing native crops and vegetables instead of the more expensive genetically modified seeds, can fetch attractive remunerations for farmers.
  • Migration of farmers especially from rural, rain-fed in search of daily wages was another area of concern for the participants. For this, farming has to be made a lucrative career option.
  • Raising fish in paddy wetlands or making ducks float in paddy water fields are also good ways to improve earnings while enriching the biodiversity in the fields.
  • Another major challenge to Indian agriculture continued to be the unpredictable impacts of climate change. The distribution of rains is erratic. The quantum of rains in total may be good, but their intensity and time occurrence are scattered.
  • Vegetables and fruits can be grown commercially with green house technology in poly houses during off season by controlling the micro-climatic conditions.
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