ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Redefining Strategies and Priorities

Indian Agriculture

Sustainability of agriculture depends on soil management systems that ensure food security, healthy soils and ecosystem services, and prevent resource degradation. Globally, conservation agriculture has provided a common thread for the application of five sustainability principles—efficient use of water, reduced use of agrochemicals , improved soil health, adapt to climate change, and doubling farmer income—in order to tie the mix of interventions with local needs and priorities of the farmers. For food and ecological sustainability of Indian agriculture, the state’s interventions must be on the basis of the conservation agriculture approach.

The world’s population has grown from 2.5 billion to 7.3 billion people between 1950 and 2015. By 2025, the global and Indian populations are projected to cross the 8.1 billion and 1.35 billion marks, respectively. Increasing human population affects agricultural land use and land-cover patterns. This puts pressure on natural resources to produce more from less lands, through use of additional inputs. Externally addedfertiliser nutrients have not been able to improve soil health and many reports point to the fatigue of natural resources (Ladha et al 2003). For meeting food requirements, since 1950, nearly 22 million hectares (mha) have been added to the net sown area, which now stands at around 140 mha, with little possibility for further expansion. Most of this is contributed through conversion of forest, pasture and fallow lands. Expansion of agriculture and the trend to use more external inputs will need far greater attention in the coming years for their effect on soil eco-functions. So far, food production has largely kept pace with the population due to extensive use of fertilisers, herbicides, improved crop cultivars, development of livestock and horticulture sectors, and expansion of irrigation. Agricultural activities alter natural ecosystems and, often, adversely affect soil health and ecosystem services. Since 1950, nearly 37% of the total geographical area of India has beenreported to be at various stages of degradation (GoI 2016). Enhancing foodproduction with little consideration to soil health has remained a fundamental flaw of the Indian strategy for sustained augmentation of food production under threats from climate change.

Management of Natural Resources

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Updated On : 15th Oct, 2018

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