The future of India’s agriculture economy lies in crop diversification. The continued practice of wheat and paddy crop production pattern since the Green revolution has adversely impacted the natural resources. Indian government needs to promote growing of less water consuming crops like oil seeds, cotton, pulses and maize. Growing of paddy led to depleting water table, soil fertility issues and stubble burning in the states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
Crop diversification refers to the growth of more variety of crops or changes in the existing pattern of crop production. The downgrading ecological situation, depleting groundwater levels and declining fertility of soil clear the need for crop diversification. This is aimed at increasing farmer’s income and decreasing negative impacts on the environment while also conserving the natural resources. Besides, it also helps to minimize price fluctuations and balance food demand.
How it Benefits?
Bringing diversity in crops results in strengthening ties between crop culture and livestock. It ensures the availability of rural employment around the year and future of India’s agriculture economy. It also results in crop intensification (increase yield per hectare) through the genetic engineering of plants. Crops grow in their required environmental conditions thus removing the barriers of lack of irrigation. On top of it, it brings back the soil’s nutrient profile and environmental sustainability.
Diversity in Plates
Crop diversification is not only essential from the farmer’s perspective but also the trade balance perspective. Currently, India imports a huge quantity of edible oil from Indonesia and Malaysia. Increase in oil seeds farming in India may help curb the edible oil imports. Similarly, India imports an estimated two million tons of pulses on yearly basis. Government hiked MSP in pulses in order to promote cultivation of pulses in many states in India. This year India also imported huge quantities of b grade maize to meet demands of poultry feed farms. Maize can be a profitable crop for farmers to grow in 2020. Also, to maintain soil fertility, it is essential to grow crops like oil seeds, pulses, cotton and maize.
Why Does it Fail?
The incentives provided by the government do not yield the desired results. Government provides high MSP rates for paddy and wheat which leads to many farmers growing the same. The reason for lack of crop diversification in India is the financial overpower of the traditional crop over the new crop. Agricultural planning is necessary to control excessive farming of paddy and wheat and for future of India’s agriculture economy. Every year we find reports of stock of wheat and rice being rotten at warehouses of Food Corporation of India. Dead stock of wheat and rice keeps lying at FCI warehouses and we import high quantities of pulses and edible oil to meet the demand.
In conclusion, this loss making habit needs to change with better agricultural planning in India. The launch of schemes to save water and take up production of crops other than paddy in the north-western region of India has not yielded positive results. Government attention and farmer’s education are also essential for adopting sustainable farm practices.