- It is an easy question with straightforward demand.
- The demand is about discussion on sustainable agriculture through the integrated farming system and its techniques.
- Define Integrated Farming System and mention its importance and advantages.
- In the main body of the answer, you have to make a correlation between IFS and agricultural production. How it is profitable and sustainable (e.g. byproducts of one can be used as raw material of others. E.g cow dung can be used as soil nutrient in agriculture, reduced risk, reduced land degradation)
- Conclude the answer with some suggestions regarding incorporating IFS on a large scale and how should that be done.
Due to the ever-increasing population and decline in per capita availability of land in the country, the operational farm holding in India is declining and practically there is no scope for horizontal expansion of land for agriculture. Sustainable development in agriculture must include an integrated farming system (IFS) with efficient soil, water, crop and pest management practices, which are environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
Integrated Farming System (IFS) and its components:
- Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) approach stabilises income streams through natural resource management and livelihood diversification.
- An example of integrated farming could be fish and livestock cultivation along with general farming practices which support each other.
- In IFS, the waste of one enterprise becomes the input of another for making better use of resources.
- In the integrated crop-livestock farming system, crop residues can be used for animal feed, while manure from livestock can enhance agricultural productivity.
How can the Integrated Farming System help in sustainable agriculture production:
- Sustainable agriculture production means an integrated approach to increasing farm yield and managing resources in order to address all three critical aspects of sustainability: economic, environmental and social.
- Recycling of wastes being inbuilt in the system, this helps to reduce dependence on external high-energy inputs thus conserving natural and scarce resources.
- Multiple uses of resources– multiple uses of water for the household, irrigation, dairy, poultry etc reduces cost, making farming sustainable.
- Soil health improvement through recycling- residue recycling is an integral part of IFS. Thus Raising productivity and yields.
- IFS helps to reduce the risk involved in farming especially due to market price crash as well as natural calamities.
- For example, during Phalin cyclone which affected Odisha, paddy crop at the flowering stage was affected but a household with advanced agronomic management tools coupled with livestock, jute, fishery suffered loss between 8 – 28% but households with only farming component had 100 % loss of crop.
Steps for upscaling science-based integrated farming systems:
- Focus on market-oriented diversification and livelihood improvement
- Initiation of National Mission on Integrated Systems by converging schemes of crops, horticulture, livestock, fisheries etc
- Large scale spread of IFS concept
- Move from Soil Health card to Farm or Farming system cards
- Capacity building of stakeholders including skill development
- Crop and forage rotation
- Introduce farm perception-based location-specific livestock components especially small ruminants like goats, sheep, poultry Improve monthly income inflows
- Integrate less land requiring activities.
Hence IFS system can certainly maintain sustainability in farming system and Govt of India must recognize its importance and urge states to promote these location-specific IFS models to initiate the National Mission on Integrated Farming Systems by converging the schemes of crops, horticulture, livestock and fisheries in order to give impetus to integrated farming systems among farmers for fast-tracking the goal of doubling farmer’s income by 2022.