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Subject related to rainfed agriculture or Rain fed farming

Subject related to rainfed agriculture or ‘Rain fed farming’

Subject related to rainfed agriculture or ‘Rain fed farming’

There is no doubt that human activities have contributed significantly to theW warming of the atmosphere, oceans and land, which has also been mentioned in the recent IPCC report. The report said that the intensity of heat waves will increase across India, which will have a huge impact on our agriculture and life.

The report further states that excessive monsoon rains will lead to an increase in rain-fed floods. With such ‘expected uncertainty,’ things will no longer be normal. After extensive planning and efforts, India was able to achieve food security. It is imperative for us to maintain and improve this food security situation while linking it to nutritional security.

A large area is covered under rainfed agriculture or ‘Rainfed Farming’ in India, and therefore it is necessary to pay attention to this area to ensure the betterment of the agriculture sector in the country.

Rainfed Agriculture or ‘Rainfed Farming’ and Agro-Ecology

The rainfed areas of the country produce about 90% of millets, 80% of oilseeds and pulses and 60% of cotton and sustain about 40% of our population and 60% of livestock.

These facts present a pre-existing vulnerability or vulnerability to impending climate change. The only option we have is to prepare for climate change, adapt to it and try to mitigate it.

Rainfed areas are ecologically vulnerable and therefore vulnerable to climate change, while a large population of poor farmers depend on it. In addition, rainfed areas contribute significantly to nutritional security through millets, pulses and oilseeds.

Most of the endemic and arable land species in these areas are short-lived. The term ‘ephemerals’ refers to all those plants that complete their life cycle in a short period of time and grow in rainfed areas.

Whenever it rains, dormant seeds germinate, they produce flowers and seeds, and within a short time they complete the dispersal of their seeds. The productivity of most rainfed crops is lower than the productivity of the same species in irrigated areas and hence rainfed farming improvement programs focus on resilience and better productivity.

India is a subtropical country with 15 agro-climatic zones and is mainly dependent on the southwest monsoon.

Of India’s 329 million hectares geographical area, about 140 million hectares are net sown area and 70 million hectares of this is rainfed. The average size of Indian agricultural holding is about one hectare.

importance of agroecology

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) defines agro-ecology as an ‘ecological approach to agriculture’ which is often described as ‘Low-External-Input Farming’. is done. For this, other nouns like Regenerative Agriculture or Eco-Agriculture are also used.

Agricultural ecology is not just a set of agricultural practices, but it focuses on bringing about change in social relations, empowering farmers, creating value at the local level and giving special importance to small value chains.

It gives farmers the opportunity to adapt to climate change and make sustainable use and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity.

In simple words, agro-ecology provides crop diversity. There are about 30,000 edible plants in the world, but rice, wheat, maize, cassava, potato, etc. have remained the main food items of the world.

It is targeted at low energy external inputs, expansion of agro-ecological services in the form of enterprises, long-term soil use through multi-cropping, specific crop production and regional markets.


Challenges of Rainfed Farming

Frequent Droughts and Famines: Drought and famine are two common features of rain fed agriculture or ‘rain fed farming’ in India.

Soil degradation: Since the Green Revolution of the 1960s, the National Agricultural Policy has been driven by the need to maximize crop yield through irrigation and intensive use of improved seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

This has been a major challenge in conserving soil in arid regions and in rainfed farming systems.

Low investment potential: Small and marginal farmers engaged in rainfed agriculture in India accounted for 86% of operational holdings in 2015-2016 compared to 62% in 1960-1961.

Poor market connectivity: Most of the rural areas are characterized by a subsistence economy. Here the surplus agricultural produce is sold only when the family’s own needs are met.

In addition, the individual production units (families) operate independently, making it difficult to assemble the product for an efficient marketing.

Even water-scarce areas usually receive enough rainfall to double or even quadruple the yield in rainfed farming systems. But the rains do not come regularly and at the appropriate time, leading to drought conditions and most of this water is wasted.

Apart from water, investments in soil, crop and farm management, as well as better infrastructure and markets are also needed for the upgradation of rainfed farming. In addition, better and more equitable access and protection of land and water resources must be ensured.

In order to improve production and thus rural livelihoods in rainfed areas, there is a need to reduce the risks related to rain. This means that investing in water management will be a preliminary step towards realizing the potential of rainfed farming.

way ahead

Need for Government Support: Rainfed areas and their farmers hardly benefit from the schemes as they use less fertilizers and irrigation and are unable to take full advantage of the subsidy provided on fertilizers and electricity.

These areas particularly need renewed attention, especially when climate forecasts are not favorable to them.

A better policy option may be to introduce agro-ecosystems in rainfed areas. The ‘design elements’ of such interventions should start from the seed level and reach the market level.

Codifying endemic land breeds, collecting their seeds, creating a repository of indigenous knowledge from formal and civil society, improving land species through plant selection or plant breeding, development of agricultural practices, area specific orientation, institutions , gender, convergence with other programmes, marketing strategies, metrics for measurement and technology are some of the key design elements.

There is a need for immune boosting and nutritious foods with low or negligible chemical residues in the post-covid world.

Rainfed areas are the obvious choice and a good strategy can be to prepare the markets for agro-eco.

Consumer education on how to effectively cook these nutritious crops could generate an increase in demand. A descriptive cookbook for Bajra has been prepared by the Government of Karnataka.

A more balanced approach is needed in this regard, so that farmers engaged in rainfed farming can also get the same level of research and technology focus and production support as farmers in irrigated areas have received in the last few decades.

There is an urgent need to bring more policy perspective like more research and development in rain fed farming as well as necessary changes in government schemes keeping in mind the needs of rainfed agriculture areas.

In the long run, cash incentives and income support programs such as the PM-Kisan scheme (announced in the Interim Budget 2019) may prove to be better than comprehensive procurement as they are more inclusive, and do not differentiate between farmers on the basis of area or crops grown Huh.

Along with income support to help farmers during the current crisis, now is the opportune time to shape better structured interventions for the future.

In order to make agriculture attractive in the long run, ‘Ease of Doing Farming’ can be promoted on the parameters of seed, soil, water etc. in rainfed areas like ‘Ease of Doing Business.

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