India, with exceptional agricultural reforms such as E-NAM, ICT deployment, adequate irrigation, and farm technologies, promises sustainable farming methods.
Emphasizing Sustainable Production
India in association with Chile and the FAO is all set to host the high-level political forum side event titled “On the road to the international year of fruits and vegetables 2021”. The event highlights the importance of sustainable production and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Also, it outlines the health benefits of the same.
Accordingly, India’s deputy representative to the UN, Mr K Nagaraj Naidu agrees that sustainable farming is of utmost importance for food security. Further, he emphasized the cruciality of seed diversity and mentioned the adverse effects of the high yielding varieties used today. Additionally, he explained the significant role of women farmers in the agricultural sector.
Mr Nagaraj Naidu Outlining the Importance of Seed Diversity
The UN Ambassador pointed out that the new, genetically uniform and great yielding varieties reduce the crops ability to withstand challenging disturbances. Further, he added that over 75% of genetic diversity is lost due to the uniformity of the breed. Also, he highlights that this causes severe losses to farmers as they have to pay the rising costs due to the royalties. As a result, they are increasing the burden of farmers in the form of debts. Finally, he suggests that seed diversity might help resolve all the said challenges.
Efficient irrigation methods to save water
One major hurdle India faces in sustainable food production is the lack of proper irrigation facilities. However, Indian farmers are striving to come up with new and innovative methods. For instance, Mr Ramesh Bariya, a farmer in Madhya Pradesh, built a drip irrigation system with old glucose bottles. This has helped him not only save his crops from the on-going drought but also amass a good profit. Further, the MP government recognised his innovation and awarded him a certificate of appreciation.
Further on, providing incentives for farmers who conserve water can help irrigation. Also, we need to bring about the right mix of both traditional and modern practices to avoid the hurdles that farmers face today. Similarly, using drip irrigation like Mr Bariya instead of flood the land with water will help farmers increase productivity, reduce costs and also save water in these crucial times.
Using Clean Energy via Solar Irrigation
Mr Gagu Oraon from the Oraon Indigenous Community in Tukutoli mentions that their land is fertile, but their people are poor. Further, the village has faced a massive drought and has struggled with crop failure. Nonetheless, things are looking up because of a newly powered solar irrigation system. Further, he highlights that this also helps reduce carbon emissions and provides a stable income to farmers.
A project initiated by the Transform Rural India Foundation installed a new solar system that provides irrigation to about 30 acres of land. Helping farmers control the amount of water used for each crop, and they can grow vegetables as well. Also, solar pants are readily available. This also saves time and energy of farmers as they need not travel to get diesel as solar energy, says Mr Satya Acharyya, development expert, PRADAN.
The number of solar-powered irrigation systems in the country has massively increased. Mr Ashok Kumar, the director at TRI, assures that even though the initial cost is higher than a diesel-powered plant, the solar-plant is cost-effective in the long run. Most importantly, they will help India reach the goal of sustainable production of agricultural products.
Technology for Smart Irrigation
Mr Vijay Bhaskar Reddy has built a KisanRdata Aja system that helps farmers monitor the cultivation. Accordingly, it alerts farmers on various issues like a faulty power supply or lack of water in the well. Further, the device also helps farmers control and regulate water usage. The farmer can control the device remotely using a mobile or a landline. Additionally, it has an inbuilt Interactive Voice Response System. The basic version of KisanRaja costs 6000 rupees.
Innovative projects like the KisanRaja will help India achieve its sustainable development goals in agricultural production. It is essential to infuse the said advances while also creatively formulate ideas that make farming highly sustainable.