TODAY -

Integrated Farming Systems for small and marginal farmers' prosperity
Sustainable agriculture road map for India
- Part 4 -

UK Behera *



(vii) Farm Development card

The system view is a useful conceptual device for all concerned with agriculture as it helps researchers understandthe context of their research and in defining its content, thus contributing to its relevance. It helps them see their specialization in perspective and in relation to other forces and creates a better climate for cross-disciplinary work.

It has been demonstrated that research programmes based on the traditional approach (i.e. commodity based) are not wholly sustainable, equitable and stable over a long period.

Doubling the farm income by 2022 is a major challenge before National Agricultural Research System, which can be achieved through large-scale promotion of agro-entre- preneur- ship by small and marginal farmers, who constitute more than 85% of the farming community, and by the rural youth.

For the sustainable development of small and marginal farmers in India there is need of system and holistic approach, which can better achieved with the help of farm development card.

Farm development card (FDC) is a business plan for the farmers which is based on holistic concept of farm development which considers overall situations of the farm including the knowledge and skill possessed by the farmer and activities needed to achieve the farmers goal within the physical, biophysical an socio-economic and institutional forces under which the farmers operate.

Farm development card also accommodates soil health card. Hence, beyond soil health card farm development card can better address the farmers' problem and double the farmers' income.

FDC includes the following vital components:

(i) Ecological Development,
(ii) Economic Development,
(iii) Energy security,
(iv) Enhancing Water productivity,
(v) Soil health management and
(vi) System productivity and sustainability.

In addition, FDC considers the farmers resource availability, constraints and market opportunity. For development of FDC, the following procedures are followed
(i) Collecting preliminary information,
(ii) Formulation of FDC,
(iii) Revalidation of the plan to know the feasibility
(iv) Implementation of the Farm Development Card and
(v) mid-term correction of the plan.

(viii) Synergy through collaboration and linkages

In India, for accelerating agricultural growth key lies with exploring synergy through collaboration and linkages. We have developed vast infrastructure in our country in comparison to other countries. We have around 703 Krishi Vigyan Kendras, 343 zonal research centres, around 100 farming system research centres (network of AICRP on IFS),vast agricultural line departments and more than 29000 ATMA workers.

All are mandated to improve farming systems and benefit farmers. It is seen that they work in parallel lines and hardly collaborate and converge. Now, time has come we should think how better output come from these vast infrastructure we have developed. This is possible through exploring synergy by linkages and collaborations.

(ix) Prescriptive Agriculture

Many sick farms of the country need a proper recommendation for corrective measures in the way of prescription. However, even after more than 6 decades of our efforts in agricultural development, we advise farmers mostly orally without handing over a prescription as a doctor does when a patient consults him.

It is observed that our National agricultural systems are not properly equipped to do so. Providing a prescription to the farmers may build mutual confidence and strengthen partnership, which is very important from farmers' development point of view.

Conclusion

With the meagre possibility of bringing additional area under the plough, it is imperative to produce more for the ever increasing population in developing countries in the years to come. In view of the serious limitations on horizontal expansion of land for agricultural use, the only alternative is for vertical expansion and increased productivity of various farm enterprises.

The inadequacy of the conventional technology generation and transfer model to effectively solve the problems of small and marginal farmers, who were largely by-passed by the Green Revolution, has led to the emergence of a farming systems approach.

The central focus of this innovative approach is to develop and transfer relevant technologies by focusing attention on the conditions and problems of farmers, particularly the disadvantaged ones. Farming system research is recognized as a potential tool for management of the vast natural resources in developing countries.

The farming system, as a concept, takes into account the components of climate, soil, water, crops, farm wastes, livestock, land, labour, capital, energy and other resources with the farm family at the centre managing the agricultural and related activities.

IFS is extremely important for the efficient management of available resources at the farm level to generate adequate income and employment for the rural poor, and improvement of their livelihoods in a sustainable manner. The synergistic interactions of the components of farming systems need to be exploited to enhance resource- use efficiency and recycling of farm by-products.

It is an efficient way of using the same land resource to produce both carbohydrate and animal protein concurrently or serially as well as meeting the vitamin and mineral requirements through cultivation of vegetables and fruits on dykes and bunds, thus providing a balanced diet for the farm family, reducing hunger and malnutrition.

A shift from the existing discipline-oriented strategy to more holistic approaches would require perceptible attitudinal changes from the policy makers, scientists and developmental personnel. In India, the Green Revolution occurred due to a gene revolution in the way of exploiting genotypes, which resulted in the increased use of inputs.

But India's and other developing countries' efforts to achieve a second Green Revolution are possible by way of a small farm revolution, which can be achieved by implementation of innovative approaches such as IFS are DFM, E-IFS, FDC, prescriptive agriculture and synergy through collaboration and linkages.

Concluded....


* UK Behera wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is with College of Agriculture, CAU , Meghalaya
This article was webcasted on May 11 2024.



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