During Kisaan Raja pilot eight leading drip companies participated and created the history. All this was possible because of drip irrigation based on Plastic Materials.
After the pilot exercise there was greater awareness among the farmers of Jalna district as the exhibition was held in eight locations and many farmers could visit the demo plants. This was like “seeing is believing.” Many farmers 8,300 in number did not wait for the loan from NABARD under UPNRM but purchased drip system for their farms and reaped the benefits in subsequent years. The pilot exercise in one district resulted in created better livelihood for many farmers in the Aurangabad and Jalna District.
We as a nation have a big question and the big question is, does the nation see and recognize 160 million of marginal /small holders having an average farm size in the range of 0ne acre or 4000 square meters as viable enterprise.
Some social leaders and national planners have lost hope in small holder’s farming as a model of development in India society. They have more faith in the industry and service sectors. Often there is an argument for consolidation of lands into bigger holdings and farming by a smaller percentage of population as it is in so called developed countries. However, these issues are outside the scope of the present article.
In past food grain production was increased by bringing more land under cultivation as well as introducing higher yielding varieties. There is no more possibility of bringing more land under cultivation, rather the competition for control over lands would increase with industries and human settlements which would demand more lands. Per capita availability of agriculture land continues to go down with increase in population.
It is projected that India’s population will be 1408 million in 2026 and about 1600 million by 2051. The challenge before the nation is how to feed this additional population? All these questions could be broken down to the demand on land and water and technologies of production. There is a need to augment the yield of food grains everywhere.
Unlike in past, India in 2050 can not rely on few Punjabs’ to meet entire country’s food grain and other bio-mass demands. Food grains and other crops need to be produced in all cultivable lands. Thus each farm family should have capacity to produce enough to meet the family’s and to supply to market enough to meet the another family’s demand not engaged in farming but engaged in either in industry or service sector. Thus theoretically it could be claimed that 160 million of farm families can feed the entire country even in 2050.
India need not depend on import of any food grain. Similar would be the possibility of meeting other demand of vegetables, oil, seeds etc. However, this would require change in cultivation practices in irrigated areas and more comprehensive natural husbandry practices in the rain-fed regions. The challenge is to intensify crop production in every piece of available land under farming which would be possible only when adequate water is available.
Plastindia Plasticulture initiated efficient use of water through drip irrigation which resulted in “One acre Miracle”
Three forth of rural poor depend on mono crop rain-fed farming, a highly uncertain enterprise. Productivity and value of farm output in the rain fed regions are well below sustainable potential and national averages. This causes poverty among the rural poor people.
Role of Plastics Industry in Water Management & Food Security
Plastics industry should look into the possibility of further penetrating the rural market by offering
- Pond Lining to create farm ponds in rain-fed areas.
- Pond Covers to reduce evaporation loss during summer months
- Drip and Sprinkler Irrigation systems for efficient use of available water.
- Packaging for enhancing vegetable based agripreneureship (agri- entrepreneurship) for livelihood security.
India can meet its food demand from own production even in 2050 for 1600 million people provided it commits to work on water security. One can look at India’s performance vis-s-vis two other countries in terms of average per capita water storage created:
United Stares :1960 cubic meters
China:1100 cubic meters
India : 200 cubic meters
This shows India’s planned effort to ensure water availability is much below the requirement. Further, when we consider millions of small holders in rain fed areas, it seems a herculean task to think & commit for required water security to all the small holders. When per capita water availability at national level will reduce further with growth in every sector, cross-sectoral competition for access to and control over water would also accentuate giving rise to condition where weaker sections of the society e.g. poor smallholders farming communities, tribal and other socially and politically marginalized would face extreme difficulties to access water from common water resources.
This would demand much more proactive stance on the part of Government to ensure that small holders access to minimum water requirement to realize the potential of their farm. Unless the government (planners/ policy makers) work with a strong vision to see millions of small holders succeed as the food grower of the nation and accordingly supported with assured water resources, it will not happen. When farmers are left in isolation to deal with the vagaries of nature year after year and often from generation to generation, they are also loosing hopes. The new generation of farmers children with a hectare of farm they inherit do not aspire to be accomplished farmers. They rather opt for menial job as distant migrant causal labourers.
“One acre Miracle”
of PlastindiaPlasticulture was possible due to enhanced water management in rain-fed and partially irrigated area. Kisaan Raja experiment was targeted towards appropriate use of available water and yielded results. Due to this experiment hundreds of farms got irrigated through drip irrigation. It is estimated that first 8 acres of demo plots gave rise to farmers irrigating 17,000 acres of land through their own initiative. NABARD helped further and 600 farmers irrigated 1,000 acres of land. National average for output of cotton is 5.75 quintals per hectare and farmers in Jalna district are harvesting 13 quintals per acre.
This is “One Acre Miracle”