Indian farming practices

• Recently, a paper titled “Integrated farming with intercropping increases food production while reducing environmental footprint” appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS).

Some of the Indian Farming Practices mentioned are as follows:

Relay Planting:

• Relay planting means the planting of different crops in the same plot, one right after another, in the same season.

• Eg: Planting rice (or wheat), cauliflower, onion, and summer gourd (or potato onion, lady’s fingers and maize), in the same season.

Advantages:

• Better distribution of labour

• Enhances yield

• The spread of Insects is less

• The legumes actually add nitrogen to the soil.

Strip Cropping:

• Strip cropping has been used in the U.S. (where the fields are larger than those in India), where they grow wheat, along with corn and soybean, in the same farm in an alternative manner.

• In India, where there are large fields (such as the ones owned by cities and state governments), the land is divided into strips, and strips of grass are left to grow between the crops.

• Planting of trees to create shelters has helped in stabilising the desert in Western India.

Soil Mulching and No-Till:

• Soil mulching requires keeping all bare soil covered with straw, leaves, and the like, even when the land is in use.

• Erosion is curtailed, moisture retained, and beneficial organisms, such as earthworms, kept in place.

• No-till or a reduced tillage increases the annual crop yield up by 15.6% to 49.9%, and decreases the environmental footprint by 17.3%, compared with traditional monoculture cropping.

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Mains Paper 3: Economy

Prelims level: Strip Cropping

Mains level: Indian farming practices and latest methods around the globe

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