The way forward for sustainable agriculture in India
What is Sustainable Agriculture?
Sustainable agriculture is the integrated system of all agricultural practices (plant and animal), having a site-specific application that will last for a long time satisfying the food and fiber needs of human. These sustainable agricultural practices give so many present and future benefits as follows.
Protect environment and promote environmental stewardship
Expand the earth’s natural resource base
Maintain and improve the soil fertility
Increase the profitable farm income
Enhance the quality of lifestyles
Increase the food and fiber production
Although we can also practice some conventional farming practices in this sustainable agriculture, organic farming, ecological farming, and conservative farming are the most reliable farming practices under sustainable agriculture.
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Become as Future Food Production Method?
Sustainable agriculture practices with innovations and sustaining efforts help farmers to increase their income simultaneously reducing environmental degradation. In India, we have goals to Double the farmers’ income by 2022 and Reduce the carbon footprint as a country.
Several methods have been introduced to attain sustainable agriculture including Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF), and Integrated Farming Systems (IFS).
ZBNF had been introduced during 2019-20 period aiming ensure the cost of growing and harvesting a crops is zero. Under this natural farming techniques were used including biological pesticides and biological fertilizers. The 4 wheels of ZBNF were,
Water vapor condensation (better soil moisture)
Mulching and soil aeration (favorable soil condition)
Use of cow dung and urine-based formulations as seed treatments
Use of cow dung and urine-based concoctions to ensure soil fertility
Zero Budget Natural Farming attained a good success within Southern India. So since it has given good results we can incorporate this to other areas of the India as well.
Mr. Subhash Palekar is an Indian Agriculturist who is the introducer of ZBNF and has practically engaged with ZBNF. He has written so many books related to ZBNF.
For further details about ZBNF, Click Here
IFS deals with optimal use of resources, effective farm waste recycling, water conservation, organic farming, and developing income-generating activities. Via this IFS, we can build up a productive, remunerative, eco-friendly, and self-sustaining agriculture system that is more sustainable in the future.
We must ensure that farmers get higher income and good profits with these sustainable activities. For that, we have to reduce the production cost, increase the yield, and finally to get a better price for the products. If we are not able to fulfill all these things as well, there is no point in incorporating sustainable practices for agriculture. If farmers don’t get enough returns, they will not proceed anymore.
Since we are moving forward to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), let’s take the 12th SDG into consideration. It says, “Sustainable consumption and production”. It includes good use of resources and increases the efficiency of resource usage. For the production cost, we don’t include environmental costs. If so, there will be a cost for water as well.
“Do you know, to produce 1 kg of rice we need at least 5000 L of water”
We have to have a thorough understanding of how many environmental resources that we are consuming and how frequently they are been used. By quantifying these things, we get an idea that we must conserve our resources since they are highly depleting. We get to know the importance of adapting to sustainable agricultural practices including organic agriculture, ecological farming, zero till, minimal till, integrated farming systems, sequential cropping, etc.
Simultaneously, we need to reduce the wastage from agricultural lands and processes. For that recycling waste is very important. The use of farmyard manure, crop waste as fertilizers is a very good practice in terms of sustainability. Also, compost production is another method of using farm waste in a better manner.
Village level storage facilities and primary processing facilities are needed to implement to reduce the waste amount of produce.
With all these things, ensuring sustainability in the agriculture sector in India has become a must and sustainable agricultural practices should be implemented to the Indian agriculture sector as soon as possible to cater to the problems encountering such as hunger, poverty, environmental pollution, soil degradation, and so on.