Home / Industry / Agriculture /  ‘Grow more food at any cost’ strategy led to challenges in farm sector: Nabard paper

‘Grow more food at any cost’ strategy led to challenges in farm sector: Nabard paper

To check overexploitation of water resources, India should create a policy environment that leads to crop pattern and practices consistent with the natural resource endowment in various agro-ecological zones. (Photo: Mint)Premium
To check overexploitation of water resources, India should create a policy environment that leads to crop pattern and practices consistent with the natural resource endowment in various agro-ecological zones. (Photo: Mint)

The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides, expansion of irrigation, and crop specialisations favouring a few crops, which were the main sources of growth of agriculture post-Green Revolution, played havoc with natural resources, environment and ecology

NEW DELHI: India’s focused on growing more food without weighing the environmental impact till a few years ago has led to formidable challenges in the farm sector which needs urgent attention, according to a research paper brought out by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard).

The paper authored by NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand and shared by the federal policy think tank on its website said that till a few years ago, the country’s agriculture strategy was focused on the single motto of ‘grow more food’ at any cost. This strategy brought many positive changes like food self-sufficiency, emergence of export surplus of many commodities, better nourishment, socio-economic transformation in some regions, increase in rural wages and employment, and gradual increase in farm income.

But these also threw up new challenges on several fronts, and some of those are formidable and require urgent attention, said the paper titled ‘Agricultural Challenges and Policies for the 21st Century.’ The paper comes with the disclaimer that the views expressed are the author’s personal views.

The foremost challenge relates to sustainability of the current method of production, the paper said.

“The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides, expansion of irrigation, and crop specialisations favouring a few crops, which were the main sources of growth of agriculture post-Green Revolution, played havoc with natural resources, environment and ecology. Heavy subsidy and free supply of power for irrigation led to reckless, indiscriminate and overuse of water, and brought serious distortions in crop choices," the paper said.

Agriculture is quite important in determining the quality of air, water and land. To check further overexploitation of water resources, India should create a policy environment that leads to crop pattern and practices consistent with the natural resource endowment in various agro-ecological zones, the paper said.

Without improving efficiency of water use in agriculture through modern methods of irrigation, stress on water use and future water requirement cannot be addressed, it added.

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