‘Degradation of water and land resources major constraints’

  From the heady days of Green Revolution, Indian agriculture has reached the crucial stage where proper planning and concerted efforts are required to salvage the situation that was mainly created by the constant degradation of water and land resources. This is a major set of challenges confronted by the policy-makers and farmers alike. There is real danger of the per capita land holding falling to 0.60 hectare by 2020 or even 0.32 ha 10 years later if the existing practices are not modified. Sustaining agriculture in such small pieces of land will be extremely difficult.

The sector is beset by a large gap between research output (know-how) and what is practised (‘do-how’) on the fields, said Surender Lal Goswami, Director of the National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), Hyderabad.

Delivering the keynote address at the three-day ‘Technologies for Modern Agriculture AP-TEC 2012 Conference & Exhibition’ that began at the Regional Agricultural Research Station (RARS) here on Thursday, Mr. Goswami said the contribution of agriculture to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is just 13.9 per cent but is still the demographically broadest economic sector providing employment to over 52 per cent of the total workforce. However, the small contribution of agriculture to GDP is not due to the fall in output but because of the relative domination of the services sector.

There has been a paradigm shift in cropping activity from food to non-food crops which occupy nearly 60 per cent of the gross cropped area. Cotton alone accounts for about 2.29 million hectares.

Demand

India is not an exception to the trend of diversion of arable land to urbanization, industrialization and production of bio-fuels.

This was bound to have serious consequences to the economy at a time when the global food crisis has aggravated due to climate changes.

The demand for foodgrains in India will rise to a staggering 345 million tonnes in 10 years and the challenges are manifold, Mr. Goswami added.


  • There has been a paradigm shift in cropping activity , says expert

  • ‘Non-food crops occupy nearly 60 per cent of the gross cropped area’