ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Running on One Leg

The Paris talks in November–December this year will focus on climate change efforts and India will be grilled for her role in saving the world from the destructive changes in the climate. One important element of addressing this is to promote sustainable agriculture by reducing the use of chemical inputs, saving soils from erosion, using minimum water and saving trees. The conservation agricultural (CA) website promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (http://www.fao.org/ag/ca/) suggests that India is indeed doing a lot in sustainable agriculture.

Agricultural statistics however do not show a consistent picture for Indians to feel that they are in the comfort zone. Fertiliser use continues to be inefficient; one does not see any innovation in the tools needed for saving soils by promoting zero-till agriculture, and satellite imageries show non-stop loss of tree cover in almost all regions of India. If the CA efforts were indeed successful one should see slowing down of fertiliser and pesticide use, some saving in water in agriculture, some saving of soil erosion and increase in the tree cover. Such statistics are absent.

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