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

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'Evergreen' Revolution

This is with reference to the article “Agriculture Is Injurious to Health” by Atul Deulgaonkar and Anjali Joshi (EPW, 7 May 2016). If we do not have appropriate technology, natural resources are of no value. Indian agriculture is immensely technology deficit and average yields are below the best in the world. Egypt has the highest average yield of paddy with 100 q/ha whereas India’s average yield is 31.95 q/ha. In Israel, maize yields are 251.8 q/ha against India’s 20.02 q/ha. Several modern technologies are available to push the yield frontiers, utilise inputs more efficiently and diversify to more sustainable and higher value cropping patterns. The excessive use of chemical fertilisers has turned verdant lands poisonous and indiscriminate use of pesticides has played havoc with the environment and human health. Nano technology can be used in agriculture in promoting soil fertility and balanced crop nutrition and effective weed control. The nano-sized silver particles can be used commercially as antimicrobial agents in a relatively safer way than, say, fungicides. An array of resource conservation technologies, including zero and reduced tillage, green manuring, crop rotations, etc, is now available.

The system of rice intensification has emerged as an alternative to conventional rice growing methods since it uses less water for considerably higher yields. Plant scientists are now using genetically modified organism technologies to create drought-tolerant and pest-resistant plant varieties. Precision farming involving efficient use of scarce resources is already widespread in high-income countries. India is strong in the area of remotesensing technologies which can be used extensively for assessing natural resources, land degradation, water resources as well as to predict crop yields, among other things.

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