Day 34 – Q 4. What is integrated farming system? Discuss its advantages in the context of India’s agro-ecological diversity and farmers’ economic profile.
4. What is integrated farming system? Discuss its advantages in the context of India’s agro-ecological diversity and farmers’ economic profile.
एकीकृत कृषि प्रणाली क्या है? भारत की कृषि–पारिस्थितिक विविधता और किसानों की आर्थिक रूपरेखा के संदर्भ में इसके लाभों पर चर्चा करें।
Integrated Farming System is the integrated crop production with livestock management which in a way complements each other with a nice symbiotic relationship which at the time is economically viable and profitable, environmentally suitable, and benefit giver of diversification of production.
Integrated farming system
Integrated farming is an another approach or farming practice which originally devised in China and now being supported worldwide as an all-round development of agriculture along with animal husbandry and other such occupation which is related to core agricultural practices. Integrated farming has the capability to make the agriculture sector profitable which otherwise has been proved largely as a subsistence sector and a major reason behind leaving this age old occupation and migration to cities.
An Indian example of Integrated farming can best be understood by the fact that once a degraded land in Jodhpur, Rajasthan having very less crop production (and income) with the use of integrated farming practices such as plantation of improved qualities of Ber along with intercropping, honeybee keeping and a goat unit turned into a major revenue generator along with improving the quality of soil and decreased expenditure on fertilizer and pesticides, produced good quality fruits using organic farming which has high demand overseas.
Advantages of Integrated Farming system in the context of India’s agro-ecological diversity and farmers’ economic profile
- Income through arable cropping alone is insufficient for bulk of the marginal farmers. Activities such as dairy, poultry, fish culture, sericulture, bio-gas production, edible mushroom cultivation, agro-forestry and agri-horticulture, etc., assumes critical importance in supplementing farm income. It should fit well with farm level infrastructure and ensures full utilization of bye-products. Integrated farming system is only the answer to the problem of increasing food production for increasing income and for improving the nutrition of small scale farmers with limited resources.
- Utilizing the by-products of one component of the farming system as an input in other for ensuring supplementary and complementary enterprise relationship. Thus reducing the effective input cost. For example, cattle dung mixed with crop residues and farm waste can be converted in to nutrient-rich vermicomposting.
- Maximization of yield of all component enterprises to provide steady and stable income at higher levels.
- Rejuvenation/amelioration of systems productivity and achieve agro ecological equilibrium.
- Control the built-up of insects-pest, diseases and weeds population through natural cropping system management and keep them at low level of intensity.
- Reducing the use of chemical fertilizer and other harmful agrochemicals and pesticides to provide pollution free, healthy produce and environment to the society at large.
- Increase in natural resource use efficiency by early recycling of nutrients.
- Some Integrated farming system features like Organic farming, and developing a judicious mix of income-generating activities such as dairy, poultry, fishery, goat-rearing, vermicomposting and others, and community-led local systems for water conservation etc help in reducing farmers’ distress.
- Mitigation of negative impact of agriculture or livestock on environment.
- Integrated Farming Systems suitable particularly for hilly regions of the North Eastern Region can be adopted. Some are as – Integrated Fish cum Pig farming, Integrated Fish cum Duck Farming, Integrated Fish Farming-Chicken, Integrated Fish farming-cum-Cattle farming, Integrated Fish farming-cum-Rabbit farming, Integrated Fish farming-cum-Agriculture. Sikkim being an organic state is a good example.
Integrated farming systems seem to be the possible solution to the continuous increase of demand for food and nutrition, income stability and livelihood upliftment particularly for small and marginal farmers with little resources. Based on the research works conducted all over the country, it is clear that crop cultivation alone can’t fulfill the demand of food and nutritional requirement and we have to focus on multi-component farming as it is the only way of efficient resource recycling within the system with increased economic profitability, economic stability, enhanced soil sustainability, and preserving environmental quality and maintaining biological diversity and ecological stability.