From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Crops, climate change impact and Green Revolution
Mains level : State of the Indian Agriculture
- The statement made by the then viceroy, George Curzon in the early 20th century, that the Indian economy, particularly agriculture, is a gamble on the monsoon, may need to be rephrased in modern times. More than the monsoon, it is temperatures that are emerging as a greater source of uncertainty for farmers. Today, what India needs is Green Revolution 2.0.
The fact today: Rising Temperatures Threaten Winter-Spring Harvest in India
- Irrigation Prevents Winter-Spring Drought: The country now produces more foodgrains during the winter-spring season than in the post-monsoon season shows how irrigation has helped to prevent drought.
- Rising Temperatures Threaten Winter-Spring Harvest: However, the rising temperatures in February and March pose a threat to the winter-spring harvest, which was previously considered safe from rainfall-related problems.
- Shorter Winters, Earlier Summers Increase Crop Risks: Although thunderstorms and hail have always been a risk for winter-spring crops, they are now overshadowed by the risks from shorter winters and earlier summers.
Heat Waves and wheat yield at present
- Surge in temperature last year: The impact of temperature surge was seen in March 2022, when the wheat crop had just entered its final grain formation and filling stage. The heat stress led to early grain ripening and reduced yields.
- Record-high temperatures in February this year: In February of this year, the maximum temperatures recorded were the highest ever seen. This is attributed to the absence of active western disturbances that bring rain and snowfall over the Himalayas, whose cooling effect percolates into the plains.
- Rising Temperatures in Wheat-Growing Areas: Currently, minimum and maximum temperatures in most wheat-growing areas are ruling 3-5 degrees Celsius above normal. The next couple of weeks or more are going to be crucial. As long as the maximum remains within 35 degrees, there should be no danger of March 2022 repeating itself.
Green Revolution in India
- In India, the Green Revolution was mainly led by M.S. Swaminathan.
- In 1961, M.S. Swaminathan invited Norman who suggested a revolution like what has happened in Mexico, Japan, etc in Indian agriculture.
- Green Revolution was introduced with the Intensive Agriculture District Program (IADP) on an experimental basis in 7 districtin India.
- In 1965-66 the HYV program was started which is the starting point of the Green Revolution in India.
- The Green Revolution, spreading over the period from 1967-68 to 1977-78, changed India’s status from a food-deficient country to one of the world’s leading agricultural nations.
- The Green Revolution resulted in a great increase in production of food grains (especially wheat and rice) due to the introduction into developing countries of new, high-yielding variety seeds, beginning in the mid-20th century.
Why India Need another Green Revolution?
- Climate change and food insecurity: Climate change poses a significant risk to Indian agriculture. The changing weather patterns, extreme temperatures, and rainfall variations are causing unpredictability in crop production, leading to food insecurity and farmer distress.
- Declining Soil Fertility: Soil degradation and depletion of nutrients have affected the productivity of the land. It is necessary to develop crops that require less water and fertilizers and are disease-resistant.
- For example: The development of genetically modified (GM) cotton has led to higher yields, less pesticide use, and improved soil health.
- Price volatility: In addition to climate change, Indian farmers are also struggling with price volatility, as seen in the recent crash of onion and potato prices. This dual risk of climate and prices requires urgent attention from policymakers, farmers, and scientists to develop resilient crop varieties and effective crop planning and management.
- Sustainable crop varieties: The need of the hour is to develop crop varieties that can withstand extreme temperature and rainfall variations while yielding more with less water and nutrients.
- For instance: The use of precision agriculture techniques can help farmers manage their crops efficiently and minimize losses due to climate and price fluctuations.
- Coordinated efforts: Improving market intelligence and access to markets is also crucial to ensure that farmers receive fair prices for their produce. This will require a coordinated effort from both the government and private sector to create efficient supply chains and distribution networks.
- Success of the First Green revolution: The success of the first Green Revolution in India was built on scientific research, policy support, and effective implementation. Similarly, addressing the current challenges facing Indian agriculture will require a comprehensive approach that involves research, policy, and implementation at all levels of government and society.
Prelims Shot: All you need to know about “Wheat”
- Climate: It is a crop of temperate climate. It can be grown in the drier areas with the help of irrigation.
- Temperature: 15°-20°C
- Rainfall: 25-75 cms.
- Soil: Well drained loamy and clayey soils are ideal.
- Cultivation: On about 14% of the total arable area of the country.
- Two important wheat producing zones in the country: The Ganga-Satluj plains in the north-west and the black soil region in the Deccan.
- In north India: wheat is sown in October –November and harvested in March – April.
- In south India: It is sown in September-October and harvested in December – January.
- Uttar Pradesh (highest producer), Punjab (highest yield per hectare), Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Uttarakhand.
- Important varieties: Sonalika, Kalyan, Sona, Sabarmati, Lerma, Roso, Heera, Shera, Sonara-64.
- “Wheat takes lesser time in ripening in south India than that in the north because of hotter climatic conditions in the south.”
- India needs a new agricultural transformation to overcome the challenges it faces. Green Revolution 2.0 can help develop crops that are climate-resilient, require less water and fertilizers, and are disease-resistant. By investing in research and development of new technologies, India can achieve a more sustainable and profitable agriculture sector. Farmers must know what to plant, how to manage their crop at various stages under different stress scenarios, and when to sell. Agriculture for today and tomorrow cannot be the same as it was yesterday.
Q. Indian agriculture is under stress due to rising temperatures and climate change. In this light discuss why India need green revolution 2.0?
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