India is known as the second largest agricultural country in the world, rich in crops and cultivable land resources. The country boasts a rich layer of agricultural and farming fields spread across its length and breadth. Yet, many stories of loss, tragedy, poor quality, and misery are associated with agricultural and farming industry in India. Many industries are witnessing rapid growth and development, but it seems agriculture sector was not given much attention to. Many-a-farmers farmers still continue to use age-old techniques for farming in an era when other agricultural countries across the globe have adopted modern technology and equipments. Such age-old techniques, lack of agri-knowledge, and no/limited access to technology has hit the farmers real hard, thereby increasing the number of farmer suicides year by year. To add to these adversities, on-farm biodiversity has also reduced to a great extent due to the so-called Green Revolution.
Alarmed by this situation, the Indian government has started implementing effective measures, emphasising on the use of modern agriculture techniques.
“India can grow over 2,00,000 varieties of rice. However, modern agricultural methods are hardly used for their cultivation”
There are several modern and sustainable ways of doing productive farming; ways that will be beneficial to both farmers and consumers. Many biotechnologists and agricutural researchers come up with effective ideas to improve agricultural practices. However, their solutions and findings remain restricted to journals and other publications that are far from the reach of uneducated or local farmers.
Some of the modern techniques are:
Use of synthetic fertilizers
chemical pest control
Modern agricultural crops techniques have many benefits but may also have adverse impacts if used aggressively. Too much of tillage and excessive use of fertilizers can degrade the quality of land and crops. Chemical farming can affect intra-species diversity and produce only fewer variety of crops.
To protect fields from pests, diseases, erosion and weed, farmers can also use methods like:
Natural pest predators
Bio-intensive Integrated pest management
Drones- the breakthrough in agriculture/ farming:
The government of India has announced its support for use of agricultural drones that are already popular in the West. Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with sensors and thermal cameras that can fly over fields and monitor the condition of the crops. These aerial vehicles can give farmers accurate information about the condition of the soil, crops, excessive dampness or erosion, pest related problems etc. in real time. This way, the need for manual inspection of crops, spread across several acres of land, is eliminated. Drones can help spot flaws in the fields at the earliest, giving farmers the chance to correct the problem before it is too late, thanks to its integrated GIS mapping and crop health imaging systems. It can help farmers determine where more irrigation is needed and where water supply has to be restricted.
In short, ways for improving the condition of agriculture and agricultural farmers in India do exist, but they have to be implemented on a large scale, across all levels, in all states, with massive support from the government.
Let’s hope for a better agricultural industry, quality crops and stress-free lives of farmers.