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Conservation of Agriculture


What is Conservation of Agriculture?


Conservation Agriculture (CA) is defined as a sustainable agriculture production system comprising a set of farming practices adapted to the requirements of crops and local conditions of each region, whose farming and soil management techniques protect the soil from erosion and degradation, improve its quality and biodiversity, and contribute to the preservation of the natural resources, water and air, while optimizing yields.

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is a set of soil management practices that minimize the disruption of the soil's structure, composition and natural biodiversity. CA has proven potential to improve crop yields, while improving the long-term environmental and financial sustainability of farming.


Ways of Protect of Agriculture:-


1. Consolidation of village lands and cooperative farming will ease the burden of fragmented land holdings. When the farmers form a consortium at the village level, the aggregate land can be farmed by using the latest technology.

2. Banks too will be willing to lend money to a village consortium which can be utilised to boost farm productivity, employ sustainable farming methods, reduce over – dependence on fertilisers and thus solve many problems.

3. The overall risk of a crop failure is less in this case and small farmers have a higher chance of earning a decent income at the end of the harvest season. Agricultural intensity also rises when a planned strategy adopted at the village level is implemented.

4. Agricultural credit and farm mechanisation for small and marginal farmers will continue to be difficult unless pooling of farm resources and/or a joint usage of farm technology is employed.

5. Irrigation problems can be addressed by Government – preferably at the State and National levels. Though the Government cannot force farmers to produce only the designated crops in particular areas, it can surely educate them about the alternatives.

6. When proper techniques (in water management at the regional, state and national levels as well as a crop plan of what to produce and where to produce) are employed, it will be a win – win situation for both the farmers as well as the country.

7. Irrigation problems as well as problems due to single/traditional crop dependence can be solved by a national level plan for agricultural production. Government can encourage farmers to shift to cash crops (oil seeds etc.) instead of food crops in areas where food crops are not at an advantage to reduce imports and also to boost exports.

8. Seed problems can be overcome by creating in house seed banks at the village level for traditional crops (thereby reducing farmer dependence on external seed banks), selling Government approved seeds through proper channels (to eradicate spurious seeds) and strict penalties on seed marketing companies in case  the seeds do not match the claims – germination and yield - of the companies. Terminator seeds should not be encouraged as a matter of principle as they force farmers to buy seeds for every crop.

9. Scientific research in this subject is to be encouraged to promote seeds which are mild on resource requirements but help the farmers in boosting the yields.

10. Sometimes small innovations at the grass root levels can solve a host of problems specific to a particular region. District agricultural officers must make it a habit to encourage such ideas and also take part in knowledge sharing to implement the ideas at a regional level.

11. Some sustainability solutions are proper crop management on the basis of water availability, crop rotation, deploying modern agricultural practices to boost productivity, switching over to organic farming (village pools will reduce costs), thrust on allied activities.

12. For organic farming, first of all, a proper awareness has to be built – among both the farmers as well as consumers. Organic farming reduces the unnecessary usage of artificial fertilisers, reduces water consumption, strikes a good balance between the local environment and the farm output, helps the land retain its fertility for a long time, reduces costs in the long run and also with the creation of a proper market in the towns and cities establishes a virtuous cycle between consumers and farmers.

13. Storage facilities can be boosted by small cold storage or granaries at village level which can be established from Panchayat funds and loans to the village society (this eliminates dumping of excess crops in the market yard).

14. At the National level an agricultural strategy or policy to improve information exchange, national level cold storage chains and logistic network (If Walmart can do, then Government of India can also do!) is the need of the hour.

15. Proper management of PDS has to be done to cut down wastes so that a reliable estimate of the food grain needs will be made. The excess (after keeping reserves for a potential drought year) can be exported provided the quality is maintained by means of proper storage.

16. Food wastage can thus be cut down and agricultural trade balance can be improved if there is a national level plan.



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