East India is low productivity,high potential area for green revolution

Columnist

shivendra kumar icarThe eastern region of the country including Jharkhand is a “Low Productivity-High Potential” region, and holds promise for a second Green Revolution through holistic management of natural and human resources.

Current Challenges in Increasing Agricultural Productivity

  •  Declining per capita land and water availability
  •  No assured irrigation in a sizeable part of the cultivated area.Essentially this means that even short drought spells cause sudden fall in agricultural production causing untold miseries to small and marginal farmers.
  •  Meager ground water utilization and water productivity is very low (0.21-0.29 kg/m3) in most states of eastern region
  • Poor infrastructure facilities for storage, processing and marketing
  • Lack of quality animal breeds, feeds and fodder, and adequate animal health care mechanism
  • A vast tract of nutrient-poor red, yellow and lateritic soils subject to run-off,soil erosion and land degradation
  • Very low per capita income and burgeoning population
  • Small and fragmented landholdings that limit mechanised farming practices (69% of farmers fall in the marginal category)

The Way Forward

The second Green Revolution is based on sustainability, crop diversity and community based management of natural resources.

  • New varieties/hybrids for different land situations and sowing times are available for immediate roll out, with planning for robust seed multiplication chain: 40 in paddy,20 new in wheat,6 in cashew,52 in different fruit,vegetable, and tuber crops,and many more in ragi,maize,black gram,mung bean,niger,sunflower,castor,safflower and so on.
  • Sustainable integrated farming system models like Zero-till technology, Rice-fish-duck integrated farming system and pond based farming system are now available for scaling up.
  • Integrated nutrient and biointensive pest management has caught the attention of farmers.
  • Improved genetic stocks in pig, goat, quail, backyard poultry, duck and fish, low cost hatchery, technology for feed and fodder production, disease diagnosis and immunization are some other technologies with high promise.
  • More options are available in small farm mechanizations.
  • This region has a robust chain of 29 research institutions and 8 State Agricultural University, 165 KVKs and the Zonal Project Directorate, that can converge their efforts with other development programmes to address the challenges in achieving food security.

Such agro-ecological approaches combined with farmer-centric institutional innovations,and women farmers leading the effort can lead to better livelihoods,improvements in the environment and create food security.

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