- Evaluate the role of government policies and initiatives in promoting Organic Farming in India. Assess the effectiveness of existing schemes and suggest measures to further encourage the adoption of Organic Farming practices. (15 Marks, 250 words)
- Analyze the role of government policies and initiatives in promoting agriculture mechanization in India. Assess the effectiveness of existing schemes and suggest measures to further encourage the adoption of mechanized farming techniques. (15 Marks, 250 words)
- Climate-smart agriculture will contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030.
Q: Evaluate the role of government policies and initiatives in promoting Organic Farming in India. Assess the effectiveness of existing schemes and suggest measures to further encourage the adoption of Organic Farming practices. (15 Marks, 250 words)
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The concept of Organic Farming revolves around the idea of cultivating crops and raising livestock in a manner that emphasizes ecological balance, sustainability, and the use of natural inputs. It is a holistic approach that seeks to minimize environmental impact, promote soil health, and produce safe and nutritious food. As per ESI 2022-23, India has 44.3 lakh organic farmers, the highest in the world, and about 59.1 lakh ha area was brought under organic farming by 2021-22.
Key Initiatives include:
- Financial Support for Transition: Through initiatives like Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna, Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati Yojana, Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North-East Region (MOVCD – NER), government provides financial support for organic inputs, capacity building, certification and infrastructure development.
- Certification Support:
- National Program for Organic Product (NPOP) provides certification mechanism for primarily export products.
- Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS-India) by MoA&FW certifies cluster of small farmers.
- Market Linkages: Through initiatives like Jaivik Kheti Portal, which serves as an ecommerce cum knowledge platform, government help in connecting organic farmers with consumers, retailers and exporters.
- Capacity Building: Through institutions like Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF), and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), government supports capacity building programs which contribute to training, demonstration, and technical assistance to farmers on organic farming practices.
- Limited Awareness and outreach
- Certification is expensive under NPOP and is out of reach for most of small and marginal farmers.
- Insufficient infrastructure development for organic processing, storage, and value chain
- Market for organic products is either in Urban areas or in export.
- Accessing such markets requires contracts with larger companies.
- A small farmer can’t reach those who may more for organic produce.
- Other Factors hindering growth of organic farming in India.
- Lack of conviction among policy makers
- Limited consensus among scientific communities in favor of organic and natural farming
- Tendency to evaluate the non-chemical agricultural practices only based on yield.
Way forward to reduce the above shortcomings limitations:
- Existing Programs to support organic farming need to be scaled up, expanded, and properly funded.
- Strengthen Extension Services to provide farmers with information, training, and technical support on organic farming practices.
- The government should draw a roadmap that sets the long-term agenda for adoption of agro-ecological approaches across different parts of the country.
- This roadmap should also consider mechanisms to incentivize farmers to adopt agro-ecological practices such as payments for ecosystem services.
- Measures to adequately produce and make available quality organic fertilizers and biofertilizers at low cost should be a priority.
- Simplified Certification Mechanisms:
- The organic certification needs to be made farmer friendly and low cost. Measures should be taken to address the problems of PGS. India (Participatory Guarantee System of India) certification system and its implementation.
- An alternative certification that is simpler for farmers and trustworthy for consumers could be explored for well-connected local markets.
- Problems of small and marginal farmers can be reduced by bringing them together for collective farming.
- The government should also ensure that farmers organize in a way they can enter contracts and demand a fair price from global companies.
- Enhance R&D specific to organic farming for the development of region-specific organic farming techniques, pest and disease management strategies, and organic input formulations.
Organic Farming in India aligns with the principles of sustainable agriculture, fostering ecological balance, farmer livelihoods, and consumer health. Its emphasis is on environmental stewardship, soil health, and biodiversity conservation.
Q: Analyze the role of government policies and initiatives in promoting agriculture mechanization in India. Assess the effectiveness of existing schemes and suggest measures to further encourage the adoption of mechanized farming techniques. (15 Marks, 250 words)
Mechanization of agriculture refers to the application of machinery and technology in various farming operations to enhance efficiency, productivity, and precision in agricultural practices. It has transformed various aspects of farming, including land preparation, planting, irrigation, crop maintenance, harvesting, post-harvest handling, and storage.
Impact of these Schemes:
- Under SMAM, as of Dec 2022, more than 21,000 CHCs and more than 18,000 farm machinery banks have been established.
- Indian Tractor Industry is the largest in the world accounting for one-third of the total production.
- Overall, Agri mechanization has increased in the country, which has led to increase in Agri productivity, reduction in labor drudgery, and overall positive impact on rural development.
Why lack of adoption of mechanized farming techniques:
- Affordability: High costs and limited credit options make it difficult for farmers, especially small-scale ones, to afford machinery.
- Lack of awareness: Limited exposure and knowledge about benefits, operation, and maintenance of machinery impede adoption.
- Social and cultural factors: Cultural norms and attachment to traditional methods influence farmers’ preference for manual labor over mechanization.
- Fragmented market: Limited availability and high costs due to a fragmented machinery market impede adoption.
Measures to encourage the adoption of mechanized farming techniques:
- Consolidation of landholding can go a long way in ensuring the benefits of agricultural mechanization.
- Enhancement of the availability and affordability of credit for farmers to purchase machinery.
- Innovating a rental model by institutionalizing high-cost farm machinery such as combine harvester, sugarcane harvester etc. to reduce the cost of operation.
- Encouraging FPOs to pool resources, negotiate better prices, and collectively benefit from mechanizations.
- Promoting indigenous industry in the farm equipment sector to reduce the cost and to promote more R&D in the farm equipment sector.
- Public Private Partnership (PPP) can facilitate technology transfer, provide access to quality machinery, offer maintenance, and repair services and ensure availability of spare parts and technical support.
- Farmer Education and Training Programs need to be strengthened. It would enable farmers to better operate the new machinery and contribute to skill development of youth for new kinds of jobs in rural areas.
By continually refining policies, increasing support mechanisms, and engaging stakeholders at all levels, India can further encourage the adoption of mechanized farming techniques. This will contribute to sustainable agricultural growth, improved livelihoods for farmers, and the overall development of the agriculture sector in the country.
Q: Climate-smart agriculture will contribute to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030. Discuss (10 Marks, 150 Words)
Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is an integrated and sustainable approach to farming that addresses the
challenges of food security and climate change by optimizing resource use, enhancing resilience, and minimizing environmental impacts across various agricultural sectors. Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) tackles food security and climate change by holistically managing croplands, livestock, forests, and fisheries. Farmer-centric programs like Soil Health Cards and Neem-coated urea enhance climate-smart practices.
Key pillars of Climate Smart Agriculture
- Food security refers to increasing agricultural productivity, utilizing techniques like precision irrigation and multi-cropping.
- Adaptation involves modifying farming methods to bolster resilience against climate change, employing strategies such as cultivating drought-resistant crops and implementing agroforestry and rainwater harvesting.
- Mitigation encompasses curbing greenhouse gas emissions and optimizing carbon sequestration in
agriculture, utilizing approaches like conservation tillage, and adopting solar pumps.
Role of Climate Smart Agriculture in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 2030
- Poverty alleviation (SDG 1): CSA fosters inclusive farming, benefiting rural poor dependent on agriculture through increased incomes.
Ø Initiatives like CGIAR and NDDB advocate mixed farming for income diversification.
- Food security (SDG 2) is bolstered by CSA, enabling sustainable yield increases, reduced post-harvest losses, and improved access to nutritious food.
Ø Programs like PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana financially support micro-irrigation adoption for enhanced
- Environmental conservation (SDGs 7, 14, 15) is promoted through CSA practices, endorsing renewable energy use, soil health preservation, and water conservation.
Ø Schemes such as KUSUM (solar power in agriculture) and Sahi Fasal campaign align with these goals.
- Climate change mitigation (SDG 13) is facilitated by CSA’s climate-friendly practices, curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
Ø Initiatives like PM PRANAM and Parmparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana contribute to this objective.
- Offering farmers credit linked to CSA practices as incentive for adoption.
- Delivering localized extension services via mobile phones to facilitate understanding.
- Promoting Agri-startups for accessible solutions in soil testing, disaster alerts, and farm management.
- Following global best practices like FAO, WB, UNFCCC standards to ensure quality and effectiveness.
Climate Smart Agriculture presents a transformative approach to tackle food security, climate change, and
sustainable development. Through CSA, we can establish resilient agricultural systems which will contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive future for future generations.