Day 13 – Q 5.Various Indian states have employed innovative technology to improve farm productivity and increase farmers’ income. Can you discuss two such case studies?
5. Various Indian states have employed innovative technology to improve farm productivity and increase farmers’ income. Can you discuss two such case studies?
विभिन्न भारतीय राज्यों ने कृषि उत्पादकता में सुधार लाने और किसानों की आय बढ़ाने के लिए नवीन तकनीक का इस्तेमाल किया है। क्या आप इस तरह के दो अध्ययनों पर चर्चा कर सकते हैं?
India’s farmlands today are at a critical juncture. Our population continues to grow, rapidly industrialising and there is fall in agricultural income and the sector is in danger of being left behind. The need has arisen for another revolution: a new phase in Indian agriculture which is being defined by innovation and technology.
Various states have adopted innovative techniques suitable for the topography and climatic factors.
A unique irrigation technology called System of Water for Agriculture Rejuvenation (SWAR) in Telangana:
- SWAR shifts irrigation from surface to measure moisture at plant root zone. Soil moisture content in the root-zone is an important variable in modelling hydrological and biophysical processes and agricultural applications and SWAR works on these parameters. The root zone also serves as an ecosystem to foster soil micro-organisms besides rationing plant water requirements.
- Technology used: The system involves storing of water in overhead tanks and sending it through a small diameter pipe to a customised locally-made clay pot that is buried near the root area. The clay pot contains micro-tubes that transmit water through a sand pouch, to prevent the roots from invading the pipes and the pot. The slow oozing of water provides moisture for a prolonged period, the level of which is calculated based on soil type, plant species and its age.
- SWAR uses a very less amount of water and there is zero wastage of water.
- The innovation has been highly recognised by the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana government. The government has placed orders for implementation of the system in an extent of 400 acres in Anantapur, Kurnool and Chittoor.
- The system is suitable for the massive tree plantation programme. In 2015, this technique was also used to grow vegetables and flowers.
- This helped show immediate results in terms of both soil and plant health and farmers’ incomes.
- In vegetables and fruits, where close planting is done, it was discovered that one eighth of the water suffices, compared to drip irrigation.
- The innovative SWAR system attained a global recognitions and awards. It was due to these promising early results that SWAR received the Global Champion Innovation Prize for Water and Forestry at the 2015 Paris International Agricultural Show.
- SWAR desires to bring more low-rainfall areas under irrigation.
Protected Cultivation along with Plasticulture in Rajasthan:
- Involves cultivation in greenhouses and shade-net houses and use of Plasticulture applications in drip irrigation systems and sprinkler irrigation systems.
- Technology used: Slim polyethylene hoses with small nozzles run along the length of the plantations; the jets shoot water mixed with fertilizer directly at the roots; climate-controlled greenhouses create balmy conditions, just right for the plants inside
- From 2014-15 to till now, 32.74 lakh Sq.M. area of Green House, 3.05 lakh Sq.M. area of Shade net, 255.10 lakh Sq.M. area of Plastic tunnel have been established and 16149 Ha, area covered under plastic mulching.
- The focus districts initially are Jaipur, Alwar, Ajmer, Chiitorgarh, Udaipur, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Sriganganagar and Bikaner.
- Cucumber, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and strawberries are mainly cultivated and to increase farmers’ incomes, facilitation has been provided to practice floriculture with flowers like Gerbera and Dutch Rose commonly grown.
- Rajasthan State government is also providing 20 % additional subsidy on Green House and Shade net so that Small /marginal/SC/ ST farmers could get subsidy up to 70%.
- Enhanced productivity and cost-saving: For ex: it is observed that Greenhouse cucumber production gives an average 50 tonne of average production. The average cost of cucumber is about Rs 20 per kg. So that’s Rs 10 lakh in total revenue. If total costs are Rs 3-4 lakh, that means saving of around Rs 6 lakh.
- Yield improvement and water savings roughly about 50%- 60%.
- Fertilizer savings up to 30%-40%.
- Prevention of weed growth.
- Subsequent increase in farmers’ income and additional income from floriculture.
Note: Many more examples of Zero-Budget-Natural Farming, Irrigation farming in Rajasthan etc. can be mentioned.
India’s Department of Agriculture says the pace of farm mechanization has been poor, thus the need for greater mechanization and innovation for higher productivity is sorely felt in the sector.