1. Land Utilization
A scare resource is land. No matter what the practical or competing purpose, the supply is fixed. With increasing economic growth and human population, the demand for land is only increasing. The term ‘land use pattern’ means the arrangement or layout of uses of land area. Land is used for various purposes like forest covers, agriculture, pastures, etc.
A number of factors determine land use. The factors include demand, state and rights regulation, soil, climate, density of livestock and human population, pattern of demand, ownership pattern, use of technology, socio-economic and technical factors, relief features, capability and location of land and cultural traditions. Consequences can be disastrous if vital ecological dimensions are ignored.
Non-agricultural and agricultural land
- Non-Agricultural Land
Land under uncultivated land, permanent pastures, barren land, desert areas, mountains and forests are termed as non-agricultural land. Land used for railways, towns, railways, roads, etc and other non-agricultural uses is non-agricultural land.
- Agricultural Land
Land area that is suitable for livestock, crops and agricultural production is termed as agricultural land. Land area under miscellaneous groves, crops and trees, current fallows and net area for sowing is called agricultural land. In India the total area available for agricultural purposes is a little more than fifty percent.
Pattern Of Land Use In India
Land use of any nation is determined by the institutional, economic and physical framework, taken together. Existing land used in different parts of India as a result of location of the region, trade and industry, structure of labor and capital available, physical characteristics of land and various other factors taken together, determine land usage.
Land availability in India is based on estimates and village papers available. Since 1950-1951, drastic changes have been seen in land use. Analysis of land use in India done for a period of 5 decades (1950 – 2000) has emerged with some conclusions. Around 306 million hectares of land was reported as usable land for agricultural purposes.
Forest areas whether, maintained, wooded, private, owned, grazing land, open land available in forests for grazing was included under the forest area. The analysis indicates that there has been perceptible increase in forest areas in the 5 decades for growing crops. Evidently it is indicated that land usage in India has been managed in a quite healthy manner.
Various important types of land used in India are cultivable wasteland, forests area, fallow land, land not available for cultivation and net area sown.
As per the National Forest Policy 1952, the reporting area of forests must be at least 33.3 percent of the total land area in the country. The distribution of forest area in the country is not in proportion. More area is reported under forest area, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha as these regions are more prone to relief features and heavy rainfall. In comparison lesser area is under forests in Goa, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Punjab and Haryana.
2.Characteristics And Problems Of Indian Agriculture
The main important occupation in India is agriculture. Around 61 percent of the total population is occupied in the agricultural sector. Agriculture contributes ¼ of the national income.
Dependency On Monsoons
In India, agriculture is dependent mainly on the monsoons. It is due to this that year after year, the food-grain production keeps fluctuating. Acute shortage of cereals is faced even after a year of abundant rain. Fluctuations are seen in employment, income and price, in turn. From the period 1987 to 2000 however it has been observed that, monsoons have been quite normal.
Pattern Of Cropping
Food crops and non-food crops are the two broad categories in which crops are grown in India. Food crops include sugarcane, food grains and beverages of other kinds, while non-food crops include various kinds of oilseeds and fibers. In the late 1990s, both rabi and kharif production have become important, an indication that agricultural production has seen a structural change.
Ownership Of Land
Changes in land ownership are frequently seen in land distribution in India. While some rich money-lenders, landlords and farmers own large parcels of land area, many other farmers own very less land or no land at all. It becomes difficult to attain advantages of farming on a large scale as most of the land holdings are uneconomic and small. Hence the marketable surplus generated by farmers is not sufficient making them poor and in debt very often.
Fragmented And Sub-Divided Land
The joint family system in India is seeing a breakdown leading to sub-division of land into smaller and smaller plots of land. Land is sold by farmer for debt repayment leading to further sub-division.
Fragmentation of landholdings is caused by sub-division. Holdings only become smaller and smaller, which in turn becomes uneconomical for cultivation. Land is not used efficiently thus increasing capital equipment for the purpose of farming. Agricultural productivity thus becomes low.
During the pre-independence period, tenants could be expelled anytime. However tenants have been provided security after independence.
Unsatisfactory Conditions Of Laborers
The conditions of farmers are not very satisfactory in India. Disguised unemployment and surplus labor is also an issue. Due to this wage rates are extremely low.
Agriculture in India faces other issues as well. The problems are related to indebtedness of farmers, farming techniques and systems and marketing of agricultural produce.
Many of the farmers neglect rotation of crops and grow same crops due to which fertility of the land is considerably lost. Agriculture becomes less productive due to insufficient use of fertilizers and manures like vegetable refuge, cow dung and chemical fertilizers. Good quality seeds are not used. Also irrigation facilities are poor. Though adequate water is available in the country, there are no affordable methods yet identified to supply water for irrigation. The native plough and other equipments are still being used for cultivation. Even if modern machinery is available, the units available for cultivation are very small. Due to lack of communications, there are problems related to agricultural marketing from rural to urban areas. Most farmers are under debt perennially often due to ancestral debt. Also the debt gets passed on to the successors.
3.Determinants of Agriculture
Agriculture is affected by a number of physical factors like topography, soil and climate, besides other economic factors.
A significant role is played by topography in agricultural development. Topography determines mode of transportation, cultivation methods and level of soil erosion. A common soil erosion feature is seen in hilly and mountainous regions. The use of machinery gets restricted due to terrain and it gets difficult to develop means of transportation.
Such an issue is not faced in flat areas. Fertile soil is found in the plain regions, which facilitates use of machinery. Developing transportation in flatter regions is much easier. Besides this, agricultural labor is cheaper in the plains due to the dense population. Market for products is also huge. The deltas, river valleys and alluvial plains prove to be suitable for agricultural purposes.
Agriculture is affected by the quality or richness of soil. Depending upon chemical and physical composition, soils differ. Soils can be non-porous, porous, coarse or fine. Silt and loam are fertile soils having fine texture. Productivity of soil depends upon its chemical composition.
Residual soils are found at their place of their origin. In terms of quality residual soils are poorer in comparison to soils that have been transported away from their place of origin. Soils transported by river water, wind or glaciers are rich and contain a range of minerals in them.
If soil is cultivated constantly, its fertility decreases. It fertility is not renewed then the soil can turn infertile. To increase soil fertility, fertilizers and manures are used; following crop rotation and keeping the land fallow for a few years are some of the other methods adopted.
Water logging and soil erosion are big problems which can be checked by constructing dykes and dams and adopting terrace framing and contour farming.
Adequate moisture and heat is required by plants, for their healthy growth. Regions having a temperature below 10 degree Celsius are not suitable for growing plants. Agricultural activity is successful in tropical areas which have high temperature all through the year.
Dry regions are not suitable for plant life. However with irrigation, agriculture is possible. Depending upon region to region and plant to plant, the requirement of moisture can vary. More moisture is needed by plants growing in lower latitudes where the temperature is high. In higher altitudes on the other hand, where rainfall is 50-62 cm, the winds are not dry, and summers are cool, plants are able to attain good growth.
Economic factors like efficient means of transportation facilities, distance from the market, policies of the government, availability of capital for farming, availability of labor, use of modern technology and the system of land tenure also play an important role in productivity and patterns of agriculture crops.
The term land reform is a broad one. It has reference to a measure taken by an institution to change the existing pattern of management, tenancy and ownership of a land area. Use or ownership of land is redistributed from owners of bigger lands to cultivators having either restricted or no landholdings. Land reforms include policies and measures related to rent regulation, education on agriculture, land redistribution, cooperative organization, improving tenancy conditions, etc.
Aim of Land reforms
At the time of independence, India had inherited the agrarian structure. The masses were exploited by moneylenders, intermediaries and zamindars which called for the need to examine India’s land reform policies. The land reforms were to be used as a social upliftment tool, improving agricultural production, achieving the goal of ‘land to the tiller’, removing land related exploitation, achieving an egalitarian structure by reorganizing agrarian relations improving agricultural productivity and production, widening land base of the rural poor for the betterment of socio-economic conditions, introducing a fair approach in local institutions, smoothening the process of land-based development of people in rural areas, ensuring social justice and growth in the country.
Land Reform Measures
Measures taken to ensure land reform policy in India include
- Combining landholdings
- Putting a ceiling on landholdings
- Eliminating intermediaries between the tenants and State
- Regulate and rationalize rent
- Provide security to tenants
- Providing ownership rights to tenants
Reasons For Introducing Land Reforms
No proper definition for the term ‘personal cultivation’, allowing intermediaries to keep their home farms, not offering protection to tenants-at-will and sharecroppers and not fixing a limit on retaining land areas.
A way was paved for a commendable shift in the balance of power by abolishing ‘zamindari’.
Three forms have been adopted by tenancy legislations which include providing ownership rights to tenants, conferring tenure security and regulating rent. Rent fixation laws were enacted by all states in India. Rent payable to landowners should be more than 1/5th to 1/4th of the gross land produce. However variations were seen in land rate fixations. Besides this, differences in land rents were also seen between states. Demand for just and fair rent from landowners led to a weak situation for tenants due to which regulating rent with tenancy reforms didn’t seem as easy.
It was made clear by tenancy legislations that tenants will not be asked to vacate except when landlords themselves would want to continue cultivation. Also some area should be kept for the tenant as well, in case the landlords resumed cultivation. Even if impact of tenancy reforms has been quite limited, they did bring in great changes. The effort continues by framing tenancy laws in different states, permitting surrender of tenancies voluntarily, imposing land ceiling laws on landholdings, etc.
The twofold reason of attempting the land reforms is improving productivity and production of assets and income and serving the purpose of ensuring justice in society.
5.Infrastructure and Agricultural Inputs
Around 1/3rd of the population of India, directly or indirectly depends on agriculture. In the development of agriculture in India, the most essential input is agriculture infrastructure. Around 25% of the national GDP – Gross Domestic Product is contributed by agriculture.
A lot of importance is being given to the commercialization of agricultural production in the present times. Topmost priority is being given to sufficient production and dispensation of food. This means that growth momentum can be attained to the maximum by ensuring that agricultural infrastructure including sources of irrigation, fertilizers and seeds are organized in an efficient manner.
Higher agricultural yield is possible with factors like balanced nutrients for crops, protecting plants in a better way, well organized water management, quality crops, better management in the post production process to ensure better marketing and value-addition.
Agriculture Infrastructure of India is being improved by definite steps taken by the government. Latest modern biotechnologies are being applied currently like terminator gene technology, DNA finger printing, genetic cloning, tissue culture etc as this can assist in increasing production. In this field, important developments have been:
- Conducting research in the field of producing vaccines
- Developing High Yielding Varieties of seeds
- Somoclonal variations
- Introducing new hybrids of different crops
- Growing better quality crops
- Seeds And Fertilizers
Production of food is possible with distributing, multiplying and making available top grade seeds for farmers. Now a major role is being played by multinational companies in producing and distributing good quality seeds. Also fertilizer consumption diffusion has become quite widespread in agriculture in India.
- Irrigation Needs
As far as agricultural needs in India are concerned, a number of things need to be given importance, for promoting cost effective technology for micro-irrigation, reducing fertilizer inputs, making the most of drips irrigation for water conservation, etc. Other strategies of importance include awareness programs for farmers, providing initiatives through subsidies and ensuring proper facilities for drainage.
- Farm Credit
Production and promoting farm produce, from domestic and international financial agencies, is being implemented in India with the help of farm credit system. Agricultural growth can be enhanced by increasing farm credit so that surplus is also generated for the purpose of exports. Investment in ancillary agricultural fields like floriculture, fish farming, animal husbandry, horticulture and aquaculture can be done.
The Indian agricultural history dates back to some parts of Southern India and the Indus Valley Civilization Era. Studies indicate that around fifty percent of the work force in India is employed in the agriculture sector. Demographically the largest economic sector is agriculture which plays a vital role in the socio-economic overall development in India. Major agricultural products exported by India serve many of the least developed as well as developing countries.
6.Second Green Revolution
The Rockefeller Foundation, based in the US, initiated the Green Revolution. New varieties of seeds were developed in the Philippines and Mexico. Developing and third world nations, including India benefitted from the Green Revolution. Novel modes of cultivation, mechanized farming methods, using high quality seeds and fertilizers, tractors, irrigation facilities and new farming practices were adopted as part of this Revolution. As compared to traditional practices used previously, the new practices used definitely helped overcome poor agricultural productivity and gained momentum gradually.
India imported food from other countries till the 1970s. Many people were unable to feed themselves and remained hungry due to faulty distribution of food and lack of modern technology and development. India faced big problems like malnutrition and starvation. Agricultural practices followed traditionally, resulted in low production making it difficult to sustain the huge population. The strain put on foreign exchange reserves was great.
Fear Of High Food Commodity Prices And Peak Oil
It was out of fear of a peak oil situation and increasing food commodity rates, a movement called Second Green Revolution was introduced. The effort was to feed and sustain increasing population the world over, by increasing agrichemical usage and selection of crops right from the 1930s to the 1960s.
To increase nutrition and crop yield, genetic engineering would take the lead. In the process quality food and crops would be produced.
Proponents Of The Revolution
One Second Green Revolution proponent has been Bill Gates. Small land plots are used for farming by almost 75% of the poor people across the globe for income and food. Making the smallholder farming much more beneficial and productive can have huge impact on poverty and hunger crops have to be grown even during floods, drought, disease and pest infestation and severe climatic conditions. To this effect, Bill Gates has made huge contributions towards development in the agriculture sector.
India’s Union Finance Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukerjee, after setting up a committee, gave impetus to the Second Green Revolution and ensured production of the staple grain rice, in many of the states like West Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar and other eastern states in India.
In other parts of the world more emphasis was laid on organic agriculture, optimized farming in small sized farms and urban agriculture in an effort to improve sustainability of resources for producing crops.
Food Grain Increased
Prosperity and agriculture improved with use of modern technology as part of the Second Green Revolution in the 1970s. Buffer stocks of food grains were maintained by the government of India thus ensuring self sufficiency and self reliance. Cereal grains in high yielding varieties, modernization of management methods and techniques, expanding the irrigation infrastructure and using pesticides, chemical fertilizers and hybridized seeds were methods used in increasing food grain quantity.
The well known India’s Green Revolution became a huge success. Wheat and rice production increased tremendously. With an initiative to increase production of milk and make India the world’s largest milk producer, the ‘Operation Flood’ Programme was taken up by the government of India. This India initiated ‘The White Revolution’ a rural development programme, attained great success. The NDDB – National Dairy and Development Board started this programme in 1970 after the Green Revolution. Creating a milk grid all over the India was its main aim.
The White Revolution made India the biggest producer of milk and milk based products. Mercenary merchants and milk traders indulging in malpractices were curtailed which in turn helped in eliminating poverty. Dairy farmers felt empowered for their own development. Consumers and milk producers all through the nation got connected with the formation of the ‘National Milk Grid’. Significant reduction was seen in the regional and seasonal price variations that not only ensured satisfaction of the consumer but also that producers get a bigger share in price paid by the consumers.
Milk producing cooperatives in Indian villages, procured milk, offered services and laid the basic foundation of Operation Flood. Latest management and technology was used to the optimum for the Operation Flood which aimed at the following:
- Offering affordable prices for the consumers
- Creating a ‘flood of milk’ to increase production
- Increasing income in the rural areas
The programme attained success with implementation of the Gujarat based ‘Anand Milk Union Limited’ cooperative. Architect of the ‘White Revolution’ in India, Chairman, Verghese Kurien of NDDB – National Dairy Development Board, with his professional skills in management, provided all encouragement needed by the cooperatives. Consumers in metropolitan cities were linked with 18 milk-sheds, thus founding Mother Dairy in 4 Indian cities and initiating the 1st step in accomplishing goals in the country.
The transformation and implementation of Operation Flood into the ‘White Revolution’ was done in 3 phases. The first phase started from 1970 to 1980. In its 10 year span it got is finance from the sale of butter oil and skimmed milk powder which through the World Food Programmed was donated by the European Union.
Operation Flood’s Phase II lasted from 1981 to 1985. Number of milk-sheds increased, urban markets expanded and a self sustaining system developed. Dairying set up under Operation Flood helped increase domestic production of milk powder, introduced more milk producers and village cooperatives which sold milk through direct marketing ultimately.
Operation Flood’s Phase III from 1985 to 1996 enabled better expansion of dairy cooperatives and further strengthened the market’s infrastructure to increase milk volume.
By the end of Operation Flood Programme more daily farmer members were linked with dairy cooperatives, sheer management skills and innovative strategies were used as a result of which production of milk reached its peak. Hundreds of cooperatives in India at present work in the most efficient manner.
- Blue Revolution
India has a huge potential in aquaculture and fisheries that remains untapped which can make considerable contribution in women empowerment and improving livelihoods. Aquaculture development is achievable in future by managing and using less water resources, adopting innovative technologies in production and ensuring right tie-ups in the market.
New Dimensions For Diversification
Major opportunities are provided by reservoir fisheries to increase production of fish in India. While fisheries in coastal areas have been exploited fully, harnessing resources of deep-sea resources is yet to be done. This sector will be added with new dimensions get added with high value produce and diversification. Fullest potential can be attained with proper hygienic primary processing, reducing losses and post harvest handling. To make sure that farmers and fishers get adequate returns, arrangements for effective marketing are necessary. In the process, consumers are able to get quality fish at the most affordable rates.
Resource Utilization To The Fullest
Vision of Neel Kranti Mission also called the ‘Blue Revolution is to attain economic prosperity of fish farmers, fishers as well as the country. Besides this by utilizing water resources to the fullest in a sustainable manner for development of fisheries, it would help in contribution towards nutritional and food security. However, it is essential to keep in view, environmental and bio-security concerns. With its multi-dimensional approach, the ‘Blue Revolution’ aims at developing the fisheries sector as the world class industry of the country. Full focus would be laid by the revolution on potential of production and enhancing productivity from fisheries and aquaculture resources, both marine and inland.
Restructuring The Central Plan Scheme
The time of enormous growth in the aquaculture industry has been seen across the world from the mid-1960s till date. Average growth rate of 9% per year is seen in India’s aquaculture industry. On observing that aquaculture and fisheries development has immense scope, the Central Plan Scheme was restructured by the Indian government, under the Blue Revolution umbrella. More focus was laid on increasing production and productivity of fish from fisheries and aquaculture resources of marine and marine fishery sector including fishing in the deep seas.
Creating The Win Win Situation
A win-win situation for both consumers and fish producers is possible by ensuring efficient marketing and proper availability of inputs. With proper coordination between different public-private partnerships and agencies, fullest potential of fisheries in India can be realized by the NFDB – National Fisheries Development Board.
The detailed NFAB – National Fisheries Action Plan – 2020 aims at achieving the Blue Revolution concept by enhance productivity and production of fish. With availability of different fisheries resources like wetlands, cold water lakes, tanks, ponds, brackish water, canals, rivers, reservoirs, lakes and marine sector, this can be achieved in India. Double income for fish farmers and fishers is ensured with inclusive participation of socio-economically weaker sections, better sustainability with bio-security and environment. By the year 2020, the revolution targets are achieving 15 million metric tonnes annually thus increasing the Indian fisheries share in the export market.
Aquaculture practiced in India is of two types including brackish water aquaculture and freshwater aquaculture.
In the case of Brackishwater aquaculture, fish that live in sea, like tiger shrimp. Sea bass, mud crabs and grey mullet are bred. Brackishwater aquaculture is practiced in states like Goa, West Bengal, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. The fish are fed food which is a mixture of rice bran, buffalo meat, oil cakes, musselmeat, clam meat and snail meat. Tapioca paste is used to blend the mixture to make small balls and fish is fed at the feeding sites.
Freshwater fish is bred like freshwater prawn, carp, magur, rohu, catla, ornamental fish farming and freshwater pearl culture, in freshwater aquaculture. In Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, catla fish is bred in reservoirs and tanks.
To get a good harvest in fish farming, the quality of water is important. Accordingly, alkalinity or acidity, hardness of water, pesticides, contaminants, industrial chemicals in the water should be monitored. Aquatic life is able to survive only if there is adequate oxygen available in the water. Different types of common chemicals like a bactericide called formaldehyde, ethylenediaminetetraacetate (EDTA) a disodium salt to remove hardness of water, ammonium chloride for improving fertility of water and sodium nitrate for formation of algae are used in aquaculture.
Andhra Pradesh state is the first ranker in freshwater aquaculture and coastal aquaculture. It is a second ranker in overall production of prawn and fish as well as freshwater fish. Blessed with reservoirs, the Pulicat a brackish water lake and Kolleru Lake a freshwater lake, freshwater ponds, fishponds and tanks, this state is a major contributor of marine exports. Resources available for brackishwater aquaculture include fishing villages, a huge coastline and many hectares for shrimp culture.
Chattisgarh state has Godavari and Mahanadi the two major river systems and their tributaries. Huge hectares of water are available in the form of tanks, ponds, reservoirs and rivers for aquaculture. Members of scheduled castes and tribes fish freely in the rivers. Spawn and fry in crores is produced by fish seed hatcheries at two fish hatcheries at Salud and Demar in Chhattisgarh.
In Haryana state the main natural water bodies are the dams, lakes and rivers for capture fisheries. Fish production in this state is very good each year.
In Himachal Pradesh aquaculture is practiced mainly in the Pong and Gobind Sagar Reservoirs. Carp, brown trout, golden mahseer and rainbow trout are different types of fish available here.
West Bengal has fishing harbors are Frasergunge and Sonarpur for fishermen going to sea. Training in fishing is provided to college students, women, youth, in service officers and fishermen at training centers. Table fish and fish seed is produced at Barasagardighi and Kayani and Juneput and supplied at government rates to local fish farmers.
- Apiculture (Beekeeping) or Golden Revolution
The Apiculture or the Golden Revolution period in India was between 1991 and 2003. The revolution laid emphasis on Horticulture and Honey production. During the Golden Revolution, factors that affected growth of the horticulture sector included:
- Considering a shift in the pattern of cropping in favor of crops providing better yield and returns
- Increasing area used for harvesting
- Upgrading the cultivation technique
During 1991-2003 performance of the horticulture sector in India improved significantly. Until the 1990s, the development of horticulture was not given too much of importance. Major focus was laid on cereals during the period 1948-1980.
Horticultural development had not been a priority in India until 1990s. In the period 1948-80, the main focus of the country was on cereals.
The government of India launched the National Horticulture Mission in 2005-2006, to improve the productivity of horticulture. Vegetables and fruits were grown in many hectares of land. As a result, horticulture produce saw a huge spurt during this period. After China, the next biggest producer of vegetables and fruits, is India.
An increase in horticulture exports has been seen in the year 2004-2005 from Rs. 6308.53 crores to Rs. 28,62861 crores in 2014-2015.
Since a very long time, honey is being collected from forests. Nectar from flowers is taken by honey bees and stored in honeycombs of the beehives. Honey and its products have growing potential in the market. Accordingly beekeeping has emerged as a growing as a feasible venture. This agro based activity has become important in generating additional income. In beekeeping the two products that are economically important are wax and honey.
Beekeeping has a number of advantages including:
- Area of lesser agricultural value can be used for producing beeswax and honey
- Less infrastructure investments, money and time is needed
- Groups or individuals can initiate it
- Honey is highly nutritious and delicious. Bees can be raised in boxes and honey can be produced even at home besides farms.
- No need to involve other resources
- High potential for wax and honey in the market
- Beekeeping helps yield various fruits, sunflower and other crops
The different equipments needed for beekeeping include the hive (a long simple box with slats on top), smoker (to control bees and protection against bee stings), cloth for covering nose and eyes, feather (to sweep off bees from the comb), match box, knife (for loosening the top bars and cutting off the honey bars and Queen Excluder.
Types Of Honey Bees
- Indian Bee – (average yield is 6-8 kg per year)
- Rock Bee – (average yield is 50-80 kg per colony)
- Stingless Bee – (average yield is 300-400 g of honey per year
- European Bee – (average yield is 25-40 kg)
- Little Bee – (average yield is 200-900 g honey per colony
Factors To Keep In Mind While Establishing Bee Hives
- Locate bee colonies towards the east direction
- Protection against sunlight
- Select areas having excessive sources of pollen, water and nectar
- Ant wells are established around the hive stand
- Ensure bee colonies are away from street lights, animals and busy areas
- Put a colony or swarm into a prepared hive that smells familiar to the bees.
- The Queen Bee is best captured from a natural swarm and kept under the hive so that other bees get attracted.
- A concoction of diluted white sugar in half a cup of water can be provided to the bees for a few weeks till they build the honey bars and combs.
- Inspect the beehives regularly and check out infestation.
- While harvesting honey, smoke off bees from parts required for harvesting and carefully cut off the combs.
Silk production also called Sericulture has a colorful and long history. Silk is produced from the Bombyx mori (L) moth which belongs to the Bombycidae family. B. mori is the one that is most extensively used even though there are many commercial silkworm species available. The most improved techniques are used in rearing B.mori. Domestication of this moth has been done since many years and now it no longer found in the wild probably.
Silkworm rearing is involved in the agro-based sericulture industry to produce raw silk. Silk yarn is obtained from the cocoon which is spun from insects of particular species. Different kinds of activities are involved in sericulture, including cultivating the food plant to silkworms, reeling the cocoons, unwinding filaments of silk, processing and weaving.
The sericulture activity has a low gestation period and offers very good returns. Estimated investments needed include land cost for rearing silkworms and cultivating mulberry plants. The mulberry tree takes around half a year to grow after which silkworms can be reared. The mulberry tree has a life of approximately 15-20 years. Under tropical conditions, around 5 crops can be taken per year especially when practices in a stipulated package are adopted by farmers thus increasing levels of income.
Potential For High Employment
Sericulture has par-excellence potential for very high employment for both men and women all through the year, especially to provide vibrancy to economies in rural regions. In rural reconstruction, sericulture is used as a tool. When silk fabrics are sold, the gross value of silk flows back to cocoon growers besides which different groups also get their share of income.
Suitable For Weaker Sections
People with low land holding can also practice sericulture. Without the need of hiring labor, silkworms can be reared to support the family. The activity is ideal for weaker sections of society as sericulture has low gestation period and at the same time offers high returns.
Tussar silkworms can also be reared if vast tracts of tussar plantations are exploited judiciously by the tribes and gain employment at the same time.
Women Friendly Activity
In India many women folk take up sericulture activities ranging from management of mulberry gardens, harvesting mulberry leaves, rearing silkworms effectively and weaving.
Mulberry trees provide excellent green cover and contribute towards conservation of soil. The tree has good root-spread, great foliage and is a perennial crop.
Mulberry tree can also be grown as an intercrop with other plantations.
Silkworm rearing waste can be used as inputs for gardens.
Un-cultivable lands can also be made productive by initiating mulberry tree plantation.
Pressure on forests and vegetation is reduced by using dried branches and twigs of the mulberry tree for fuel.
- Poultry Farming (Silver Revolution)
Poultry farming is also called the Silver Revolution. The time period in Indian history in which egg production increased tremendously, has been referred to as the Silver Revolution. Improved hybrid poultry, applied veterinary science and better facilities for farmers working in poultry farming was emphasized upon during the Silver Revolution. Poultry like chicken, geese, ducks, turkeys which are a part of subcategory of animal husbandry are raised in poultry farming, for the purpose of food, eggs or meat. Rearing young pigeons and guinea fowl are mainly of local interest.
Small capital is needed for poultry farming. It offers additional job opportunities and additional income in the shortest time period to a large number of people in rural areas. Factory farming techniques are used for producing poultry in vast majority.
Long term issues related to ethical consumerism, animal abuse, health risks and harm to environment also arise with free range poultry farming according to opponents of this farming type.
Modern Techniques Used
Factory farming proponents in contrast lay emphasis on increased production through state-of-the-art techniques, environmental protection, clean confinement facilities, etc all which is required to feed the increasing human population.
In India, poultry farming has been quite old. It provides employment directly or indirectly to millions of people in the country. Poultry offers good income to landless laborers. This livestock needs protection from avian influenza and feed supplies need to be arranged continuously.
The government of India has entrusted the Central Poultry Development Organizations to play an important role in ensuring that poultry farming makes women and poor farmers financially strong and help alleviate nutritional hunger. Accordingly poultry units are restructured, improved feed consumption so that birds gain better weight and lay better focus on improving indigenous poultry in a way that maximum eggs are available each year. High grade bird varieties are also produced and feed samples are also analysed.
Implementation Of Schemes
Schemes are implemented to provide assistance to strengthen farms in terms of bird rearing, brooding and hatching, providing in-house facilities to prevent diseases in birds and in the process monitor quality of birds.
During the year 2004-2005, the Dairy / Poultry Venture Capital Fund – a new scheme was introduced to provide a grant subsidy on payment of interest. A nationalized commercial bank through NABARD was selected as nodal agency for implementing the scheme.
Commercial Poultry Farming
In the case of commercial poultry farming, essential minerals, providing the right environment for the birds, avoid overcrowding, well balanced and top quality protein sources, antibiotics help in producing desired poultry quality.
One excellent example of applying basic genetic principles of crossbreeding and inbreeding, is poultry breeding. It involves attaining optimum egg production for egg laying strains and extensive mass selection to effect quicker and affordable gains in meat. Through crossbreeding, hybrid vigor and heterosis is used to the maximum in the process to achieve efficient and rapid weight gains and top grade meaty and plump poultry carcasses. Sanitary precautions are taken up seriously, cages are used for confinement rearing and layers for broilers and vaccines and antibiotics are used for efficient control of diseases in birds.
Farmers in India have a growing preference for horticulture crops. Marginal farmers mostly use small land patches to grow shorter duration crops. In the year 2017-2018 a record 307 million tons of vegetables, coconut, floriculture, spices and fruits etc have been grown as perishable horticulture crops. This is an indication that over the years, horticulture production has been significantly increasing.
Quicker Returns On Perishables
In India it is seen that land holding become fragmented over a period of time, due to which farmers get quicker returns on vegetable production. As compared to traditional food-grains, returns obtained from perishables are comparatively better for the farmers. Agriculture in India has seen a fundamental shift, accordingly. Farmers are more willing to take up risk of growing perishables in India due to various reasons. Demand for vegetables and fruits in urban areas are higher due to urbanization and better income of people.
During peak season, prices of fruits and vegetables generally crash which indicates that investment in units for food processing needs to be increased. Shelf life of fresh produce can be increased by ensuring refrigerated transportation and improved cold chain network so that farmers get better value for their produce.
Better crop choices
Farmers are in a position to make better choices in crops if they have a clearer idea on demand and supply in future. Many farmers in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have exported grapes and bananas on a large scale. If other farmers are made aware about their success stories, about export markets and methods of accessing them then surely the horticulture industry in India will flourish more than before. Intelligence, technology and better access to markets is sure to ensure higher production of perishables so that farmers make higher earnings.
Land Productivity Improves
Horticulture in India is important as it helps improves land productivity, improves the economic status of entrepreneurs and farmers, generates employment, increases exports and at the same time ensures nutritional security to the consumers.
Larger Crop Variety
Horticulture crops in a large variety can be grown in India due to the immense agro-climatic diversity. India holds a good position across the globe in the production of cashew, bananas and mangoes besides apple, pineapple, onion, cauliflower, green peas, onion, tomato and potato. India produces horticulture crops in huge varieties which have huge demand in India and all over the world.
Vegetables in a large variety are grown in India. After independence, increase in demand for vegetables has been seen with urbanization, health care and growing population.
Better Economic Growth
Many of the vegetables grown are short duration crops. In one year, the same piece of land is used in growing 2-3 crops. The cultivation process of vegetables continues all through the twelve months as a range of vegetables are grown in different seasons. Vegetables are grown near urban areas so that a ready market is available for selling them. Economic growth through India will result if the agricultural sector is strong. As compared to producing cereals, vegetable production creates more jobs for people. With this diversification, larger income farm income is generated as compared to other products.
- National Commission on Farmers
An Indian Commission called the National Commission on Farmers – NCF was constituted under the chairmanship of Professor M.S. Swaminathan on November 18, 2004 by the government of India. Main aim of the NCF was to address the catastrophe of suicides by farmers in India. In December 2004, August 2005 and April 2006 respectively, four reports were submitted by the NCF. On October 4, 2006, submission of the fifth and final report was done. Recommendations for achieving the goal of a more inclusive and faster growth were included in the report as predicted in the Approach to the 11th Five Year Plan.
Amongst all the reports submitted by the NCF, the most important was the fifth report as main focus was on increase in suicides by farmers and causes related to distress of farmers. In October 2007 a National Draft Policy for Farmers was placed before the Parliament on the basis of recommendations submitted in 2006. Recommendations and findings of the NCF focused on issues of entitlements to social security and access to resources. Suggestions related to growth of the agricultural sector and farmers in India, was also included. The NCF aimed at finding solutions to maintain the farming system, enhance cost and quality competitiveness of farm goods, nutrition and food security and also suggest measures for credit and various steps related to marketing. However implementation of a number of recommendations made in the NCF reports is to be done.
Some Of The NCF Recommendations:
Introducing scientific processing and harvesting and Integrated Coastal Zone Management for both inland and coastal fisheries can help provide livelihood and employment to millions of fisher families. Besides this ‘Fish for all Training and Capacity Building Centres’, raising bil-shields like mangroves and quality literacy can help in obtaining quality fish harvest and additional income. Fish catch can be revived by building creating artificial coral reefs so that the loss of natural coral reefs is compensated.
Importance should be given to evolve equitable and fair mechanisms for accessing water and involve local people in water resource management, as water is a public resource. Accordingly steps like water literacy movement, aquifer recharge and harvesting rainwater, introducing drip and sprinkler irrigation, improving irrigation practices, establishing Water User’s Associations and Pani Panchayats in villages and introducing a Drought Code to maximize benefits of a good rainy season.
Addressing Land Reforms
Inequality of land holding is reflected in ownership of land. The basic problem of accessing land for livestock and crops, both is necessary to address. Reforms to be introduced in distribution of wasteland and ceiling wasteland, leasing of land, tenancy laws, land holding consolidation and offering enough access to wasteland resources and common property. A National Land Use Advisory Service to be established to link marketing and ecological meteorological factors and land use on a season specific and location basis. Avoiding diversion of forest and prime agricultural land for non agricultural purposes to the corporate sector is also one aim while addressing land reforms.
Poultry And Livestock
The route to well-being of farmers is crop-livestock integrated farming as it is one main land-based livelihood. Accordingly establishing a National Livestock Development Council and Livestock Feed and Fodder Corporations at State Level is important to ensure quality feed and fodder for livestock and poultry.
Reserving traditional rights to access the biodiversity, developing novel genetic combinations, organizing Genome Clubs in colleges and schools in rural area and launching legal and genetic literacy movements and using latest science and technology practices can surely help in gaining better efficiency in the economy.
17.Indian Agriculture –Challenges and Prospects
Many natural and manmade problems have plagued agriculture in India.
Rainfall is uncertain in a number of places in India, but with proper irrigation facilities, agricultural progress is sustainable. More than half of the cropped areas need to be brought under irrigation. Success stories of progress in agriculture have been testified in western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab where vast areas are under irrigation. At the same time care should be taken to avoid faulty irrigation which could affect areas with water-logging, alkalinity and salinity.
Crops with higher yields are possible with quality seeds. However quality and affordable seeds seem beyond reach of especially marginal and small farmers. To ensure quality seeds are available to farmers, 13 (SSCs) State Seed Corporations have been established for distribution of certified seeds. Policies have been introduced and in 1966-67 a HYVP – High Yielding Variety Programme was launched to improve food grains production and meet nutritional and food security goals of the nation.
Fragmented And Small Land Holdings
Land-holdings in India are scattered, small and economically unviable. As land-holdings undergo further endless sub-division, this will further decrease the landholding size in future. This is a serious issue in intensively cultivated and densely populated Indian states like Bihar, Kerala, eastern part of Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. Average landholding size in states like Nagaland and Rajasthan is comparatively larger. Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra have above the national average landholding size.
Inheritance laws in India have led to this despairing state of affairs like fragmentation and sub-division in landholdings. Also different land areas have different fertility levels, irrigation becomes difficult and leads to low productivity in fragmented landholdings. Consolidating landholdings on a larger scale proves to be a solution.
Biocides, Fertilizers And Manures
With exhaustion and depleting of soils, crop productivity is getting lower in India. Using quality fertilizers, manures and biocides can help resolve this serious issue. Better soils offer good agricultural yields. Organic manures like cow dung, affordable chemical fertilizers, high incentive subsidy to farmers, utilizing urban compost to the fullest can help ensure better quality crops. Fertilizer quality control laboratories have also been set up in various parts of India have been set up.
Little Or No Use Of Machines
The lack of mechanization in sowing, ploughing, thinning, irrigating, transporting, threshing, harvesting, weeding, pruning etc and using conventional and simple tools, results in low yields and huge human labor wastage in agriculture. Mechanization of agricultural operations is crucial to facilitate multiple cropping and improve production. After independence, quite some progress has been made in this direction and with the advent of the Green Revolution in 1960s, this need was felt strongly. Accordingly programmes and strategies have been initiated towards replacing inefficient and traditional equipments with latest ones, like harvesters, power tillers, tractors and more.
Original fertility of fertile land affected by water and wind erosion must be restored and treated well.
Agricultural Marketing And Proper Storage
In rural India, farmers depend upon on middlemen and local traders and sell their goods at low rates. With sound marketing facilities and adequate storage facilities for farm produce, farmers can be removed from the distressful situation.
Villages need to be properly connected with market centres and main roads to carry and sell their produce at proper prices. The government must spend money to complete this gigantic task.