MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND COMMON SENSE = EASE OF DOING AGRICULTURE + BETTER PRODUCTION
Farmers in advanced and developed countries have now the benefit of having Modern Technology tools which greatly increase their ease of doing agricultural activities. The use of Modern Technology also boosts their crop production However, it is also a fact that majority of Farmers in developing countries still use old folk lore agricultural practices in their farms. The farmers will plant crops in fixed seasons. From cultivation, Fertigation, harvesting and marketing at every step method is all fixed. Farmers continue to sell in the pre-ordered markets with a lot of middle men. Farmer continue to sell produce to the same person(s) and continues to receive under valued price for his produce as always.
Today Modern Technology in the field of communication, both audio and visual, has brought virtually the whole world together. A farmer in India has the means to have same knowledge as say a Nigerian or U.S. farmer operates. Communication through smart phones coupled with numerous agricultural apps supported by government and private agencies bring the knowledge of best modern agriculture technologies to the finger tips of Farmers.
Farmers can easily get through help of Modern Technology all required knowledge to help him in his agricultural practices. Farmers get on their smart phone, T.V. channels, News channels, Publications of various government agencies such information like weather prediction, weather warnings, drone base soil mapping for cultivation and water content, advisories on what to sow in the field at what time in which place, advisories on how to fertilize the crops from planting to production stage, etc.
What is required is extension of these developed systems to the field. This work requires combined efforts by the respective governments and private sector agencies.
Before we come to discussion of Newer Modern Technologies in the agricultural practices, as a first step Farmers need to pay attention to UTILIZATION OF RESOURCES at their command effectively.
ZERO TILLAGE in wheat is reported have reduce the production costs by 2000 to 2500 Rupees per hectare and 15-20 per cent saving in irrigation water.
Similarly by using DRIP AND SPRINKLER irrigation methods more area can be brought under irrigation.
Use of Farm Yard Manure (FYM), Compost, and Bio fertilizers help reduce over dependence on the chemicals led intensive cultivation.
F&AO report 2016 says: Restoration of forests and degraded soils, climate-smart agricultural practices, agro ecology and better management of water resources can all contribute to the productivity improvements needed to respond to the growing demand for food, improve the resilience of farming systems and reduce the emission intensity of crops, livestock, fisheries and forestry, while increasing carbon sequestration in soils and forests.
The annual crop yield in China using modern agricultural technologies is 415 million tonnes per year. On the other hand despite having more agriculture land (than China) , India produces 218 million tonnes per year (Piesse & Thirtle 2010).
There is urgent need to embrace Modern Technology as below to accelerate agriculture production.
- high-tech protected cultivation
- modern irrigation methods
- Farm Mechanization
The first thought which comes when we talk of bio-technology is hybrid seeds. Such seeds have greater pest resistance and requie lesser water. They also result in higher productivity. The role of bio-technology is very important in improving greatly food supplies.
Use of nano size silver particles is now prevalent as a faster and more enduring pest and anti-microbial agent. Presenly this technology is a some what costlier than traditional pesticides but the cost would come down with scale of use.
Protected cultivation method is a boon to the crops as the same provides protection from harsh climate differences, water conservation, irrigation as requires, fertilization as required, protection from pests, etc.
Modern Irrigation methods
Drip system allow water to be deposited directly to the root zone of the plants. Water given through drips does not overflow. Irrigation water and fertilisers can be applied at the right time and in right amounts. A closed loop is possible where continuous monitoring of soil is done and the system itself triggers irrigation and/or Fertigation.
There has been considerable mechanization in farming activities in India and all over the globe. However, the use of Modern Technology Robotized machines is still not very much prevalent, at least in India. Use of drones for mapping of land, water sources etc.
Farmers now need to get all basics right. He needs to concentrate on three aspects, namely:
- Take as much help from Modern Technologies in the field of communication, bio-technology, nano-technology, high-tech protected cultivation, modern irrigation methods and mechanization.
- Conserve Eco-system by using bio-fertilizers, build resilience through practices like green manuring, nitrogen-fixing cover crops and sustainable soil management and integration with agroforestry and animal production.
- Utilize his resources in optimum ways
- Market his produce by studying the country and world trends; if required create storage to avoid distress selling.
The need of the hour is to have interlinking with crop sowing with the weather forecast system. The effect of climate change needs to be tackled. Farmer also contribute towards mankind’s efforts on controlling and slowing down Climate Change due to Global Warming by change in agricultural practices. For more on Climate change please see my blog, “Agricultural Practices Mitigate Climate Change …”