Economic Survey 2022: Govt needs to prioritise crop diversification and promote alternative fertilis
- The Economic Survey suggested to the government to give priority to crop diversification, allied farm sectors and alternative fertilisers like Nano urea.
- The Survey also pitched for increasing agriculture research and development (R&D) and organic farming, besides use of new technologies like drones.
- Crop diversification means growing more than one crop in an area.
- Diversification can be accomplished by adding a new crop species or different variety, or by changing the cropping system currently in use.
- Commonly it can mean adding more crops into an existing rotation.
- Diversifying the cropping system is already being practiced by agricultural producers to overcome crop production challenges, such as high land values, increased input costs, varying weather factors, increased demands for new products, etc.
Benefits of crop diversification
- Increasing income on small farm holdings
- Withstanding price fluctuation
- Mitigating effects of increasing climate variability
- Balancing food demand
- Improving fodder for livestock animals
- Conservation of natural resources
- Minimising environmental pollution
- Reducing dependence on off-farm inputs
- Depending on crop rotation, decreasing insect pests, diseases and weed problems
- Increasing community food security.
Crop Diversification Programme (CDP)
- It is a sub scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and is being implemented in Original Green Revolution States to divert the area of paddy crop to alternate crops and in tobacco growing states to encourage tobacco farmers to shift to alternate crops/cropping system.
- Under CDP for replacing paddy crop, assistance is provided for four major interventions viz., alternate crop demonstrations, farm mechanisation & value addition, site-specific activities & contingency for awareness, training, monitoring, etc.
- The fertilizers application in agricultural practices has significantly increased the production of food, fiber and other plant products.
- However, a significant portion of nitrogen (40–60%), phosphorus (80–90%) and potash (30–50%) applied fertilizers in the agricultural field is not taken up by plants due to different soil dynamics.
- Such losses increase the cost of fertilizers that severely reduce crop yield.
- To overcome these problems, different alternative fertilizers are developed to efficient utilization of nutrients including microbial inoculants, value-added compost and biochar, formula-modified fertilizers, liquid macro and micro- nutrient fertilizers with different mode of application to partial or complete substitution of reputed chemical fertilizers.
- Nano-fertilizers consist of nanomaterials (NMs), which are defined as materials in size range of 1 to 100 nm at least in one dimension.
- Because of the effect of dimension(s) nanomaterial's possess improved properties or phenomena.
- Due to higher surface area to volume size ratio, their availability and absorption is manifold.
- They have dynamic physical and chemical properties over their conventional counterparts.
- Recently IFFCO came up with the first-ever state of art production liquid nitrogenous fertilizer, NANO UREA.
- The product provides the optimum dose of nitrogen to crop in the most appropriate way in just a 500ml bottle pack as compared to the traditional 45 Kg Urea bag.
- It is thus required in lesser measure compared to the conventional urea fertilizer to fulfill plant's nitrogen requirement.
- The government is also mulling to encourage rational use of nano urea, which is in liquid form, in the agriculture sector to address the issue of farmers' migration and help in reducing cultivation cost and doubling farmers' income.