Hyderabad: With the Telangana state government advising farmers to to choose less water-consuming crops because of the unpredictable climatic conditions, agricultural scientists believe that farmers have to shift from indigenous techniques to smart farming.
The meteorological department data shows that monsoon contributes to 70 per cent annual rainfall of the country but due to erratic monsoons, farmers have been witnessing loss of crops.
According to studies, the demand for high-quality, protein and nutrient-rich food has increased annually as the global population is on pace to reach 9 billion by 2050.
In order to meet the increasing demand for grains, farmers require a smarter way to plan their agriculture.
Mr John McDermott, agriculture and nutrition expert who was in the city for the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) conference, told this newspaper, “Smart farming also involves managing the risks in agriculture. We often see the prices of pulses fluctuating a lot whereas prices of cereals stay steady. Farmers need to de-intensify the single variety of crops further reducing their overdependence. Crop insurance is another aspect which governments have to implement more seriously to protect farmers rights.”
Agriculture is not only the largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) at about 17-18 per cent but it also provides employment to 50 per cent of the Indian workforce.
The agricultural output has increased over the years but the percentage of number of people involved in agriculture has come down to 45.1 of the population in 2011.
Prof. Suneetha Kadiyala of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “Farmers still believe this notion that the more they water, the more they will be able to produce. We need to shift to environmentally sustainable irrigation, storage facility, micro irrigation techniques. Over reliance on old resources and weather is the reason which is pushing farmers to distress.”