Karnataka

‘Reduced water availability will be a challenge for farming’

“With estimates indicating that the water availability for agriculture likely to be reduced to 70% from 83% by 2050, the availability of good quality and adequate quantity of water for farming would be crucial for continued food and nutritional security of the country,” secretary of Union Ministry of Science and Technology Ashutosh Sharma has said.

Delivering his address via video link at the 33rd annual convocation of University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad (UAS-D) on Saturday, Mr. Sharma said that recycling of waste water, including domestic and industrial effluents in farming, would substantially increase the reuse of waste water.

He said although the country received an average rainfall of 100 cm annually, just around 29% of the rainwater was conserved and used for farming. There was huge potential for in-suit and ex-suit rainfall conservation, storage and use it for farm activities including livestock and fisheries, he said.

He said in the coming years, energy was likely to become a limiting factor for farming. He said cultivation of short duration and stress tolerant energy crops in wastelands was a solution to address the issue. He also said that there was need for tapping the potential of converting residues and bi-products of farming into energy needs.

Post-production

Mentioning that required attention was being paid towards post-production activities in the country now, Mr. Sharma said these activities were capable of generating large number of off-farm jobs. “Doubling farm income rests on increasing annual growth rate, enhancing the quality and appropriateness of crops, post-harvest measures, effective marketing and slew of other measures,” he said.

Mr. Sharma said to overcome the ‘problem of plenty’, there was urgent need for addressing the challenges of marketing. “India has begun reorienting the trade policy to protect the interests of farmers and work on price and demand forecasting mechanisms, so that the farmers can be advised to take informed decision on what to grow and how much to grow,” he said.

On the need for adapting the benefits of newer technologies like artificial intelligence in the farm sector, Mr. Sharma called on the fresh farm graduates to work towards sensitising the farmers.

Welcoming the gathering, Vice-Chancellor of UAS-D M.B. Chetti briefed about the activities and achievements of the university.

Agriculture Minister and Pro-Chancellor of the university B.C. Patil, conferred various farm degrees on 890 graduates and post-graduates and also honoured meritorious students with gold medals.

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Printable version | Apr 16, 2021 2:54:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/reduced-water-availability-will-be-a-challenge-for-farming/article33951037.ece

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