Important topics for Agriculture for UPSC 2023
Topics for Agriculture
* Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country
> A shortfall in rice acreage - Agriculture
- India has witnessed a shortfall in rice acreage while the overall crop coverage has risen.
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- Government godowns had over 47.2 million tonnes (mt) of rice ( nearly three-and-a-half times the minimum level of stocks, to meet both “operational” (public distribution system) and “strategic reserve” (exigency) requirements for the quarter.
- Low rainfall in paddy areas: Areas such as Uttar Pradesh to West Bengal have had very little rain.
- Drying up of nurseries: Most farmers with limited irrigation facilities have seen even their nurseries drying up”.
- It is India’s largest agricultural crop (accounting for over 40% of the total foodgrain output)
- India is the world’s biggest exporter (around 40% of the world’s export)
- India is 2nd largest rice producer in the world after China.
- Temperature: 22 – 32 degree C. (High Humidity)
- Rainfall: 150-300 cm
- Soil Type: Deep Clayey and Loamy soil
- Top rice producing state: WB > Punjab > UP > Andhra Pradesh >Bihar
- Aus, Aman,and Boro: 3 crops of paddy are grown in Asasm, West Bengal, and Odisha
- Farmers first sow paddy seeds in nurseries.
- These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field.
- Nursery sowing generally happens before the monsoon rains.
- For the first three weeks or so after transplanting, the water depth has to be maintained at 4-5 cm, in order to control weed growth in the early stage of the crop.
- Paddy cultivation takes place across a wider geography, unlike wheat which is grown only in a few states north of the Vindhyas. Also, rice is both a Kharif (monsoon) and rabi (winter-spring) season crop. So, the losses in one area or season can potentially be recouped from the other.
> DSR Technique in Agriculture
- Despite the Punjab government’s Rs 1,500 per acre incentive to farmers for adopting the DSR method, farmers are returning to the traditional method of puddled transplanting of rice in the majority of the paddy area (87% decline in DSR over last year)
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- DSR is the direct seeding of rice in which seeds are sown in the field rather than by transplanting seedlings from the nursery.
- It aims to sow short-duration and high-yield varieties.
- It is done through DSR machines which are used for planting seeds of rice directly into the fields.
- Experts say that around 15% to 20% of groundwater can be saved by adopting DSR.
- Lack of power and adequate water
- Results of the DSR depend on the farmer to farmer and soil types.
- Light soils are bad and heavy soils are good for DSR.
- Lack of technical know-how: The majority of the farmers in the state are still not much well-versed in the technique and after facing huge losses in wheat yield this year, they prefer the assured traditional method, instead of the experimental DSR.
- Need for weedicide: Though DSR does not need labour, it needs several sprays of weedicides to control weeds. In traditional agriculture, flood irrigation acts as a weedicide.
- Low incentive: Many farmers complain that the losses due to the adoption of DSR are over 6000 per acre, but the incentive with DSR sowing is just Rs 1,500 per acre.
Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems
Transport and marketing of agricultural produce
e-technology in the aid of farmers.
Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies, and minimum support prices
> Panel on MSP, natural farming setup
- The government constituted a committee headed by former Union Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal to look into the issues of minimum support price (MSP)
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- The government had announced the decision to repeal the three farm laws and said it will constitute a committee to promote zero budget-based farming, change crop patterns keeping in mind the changing needs of the country and make MSP more effective and transparent.
- Committee will consist of representatives of the Central and State governments, farmers, agricultural scientists and agricultural economists.
- On agricultural marketing system: It will work for Agri marketing as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic output and export.
- On natural farming: It will suggest programmes and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation and research for future needs and support for area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System.
- On crop diversification: It will look into the mapping of existing cropping patterns of agro-ecological zones of producer and consumer States.
- Review and suggestion on micro irrigation scheme