Conservation Agriculture: Economic Perspective and Future Challenges
Krishna M. Singh
Rajendra Agricultural University
M. S. Meena
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
Jan 20, 2012
Conservation Agriculture (CA) is an approach for designing and management of sustainable and resource-conserving agricultural systems. It seeks to conserve, improve and make more efficient use of natural resources through integrated management of soil, water, crops and other biological resources in combination with selected external inputs. Conservation agriculture has emerged as an effective strategy to achieve goals of sustainable agriculture worldwide. It has the potential to address increasing concerns of serious and widespread problems of natural resource degradation and environmental pollution, while enhancing system productivity. The primary focus of developing and promoting RCT practices has been the development and adoption of zero tillage cum fertilizer drill for sowing wheat crop in rice–wheat system. Other interventions being tested and promoted include raised-bed planting system, laser-aided land-leveling equipment, residue management alternatives, alternatives to rice-wheat cropping system in relation to RCT technologies, etc. CA offers an opportunity for arresting and reversing downward spiral of resource degradation, decreasing cultivation costs and making agriculture more resource-use-efficient, competitive and sustainable. ‘Conserving resources-enhancing productivity’ has to be new mission. Availability of machinery / equipment for promotion of resource conservation technologies is a prerequisite for achieving targets of agricultural production. Availability of implement at economical cost is major constraint in promotion of bed planting of crops. Likewise, machinery is not available for crop residue management that is impeding acceleration of this practice. Organizing farmers’ days, holding of field demonstrations, cross-farm visits of extension experts and effective use of mass media i.e. print and electronic media for transfer of technology may play a major role in promotion of resource conservation technologies amongst farming community. Capacity building of farmers to acquire, test and adopt technologies through participatory approach will enable them to seek resource conservation technologies for their farms and thus they can reduce their production cost and combat production constraints. Improvement in coordination among various stakeholders (research, extension service, farmers, service providers, agricultural machinery manufacturers, etc.) for transfer of technologies will play a pivotal role in accelerating adoption of new interventions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: Conservation Agriculture, Resource Conservation Technologies, Sustainable Agriculture
JEL Classification: Q16, Q15
Date posted: March 21, 2012
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