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

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Agricultural Transformation or Compromising Food Security

A response to the paper “Water and Agricultural Transformation in India: A Symbiotic Relationship—I” by Mihir Shah, P S Vijayshankar, and Francesca Harris (EPW, 17 July 2021) argues that the solutions proposed in the paper will neither revolutionise India’s agriculture sector nor minimise the water and soil problems listed.

 

In a paper published in the EPW titled “Water and Agricultural Transformation in India: A Symbiotic Relationship—I” by Mihir Shah, P S Vijayshankar, and Francesca Harris (17 July 2021), the authors argue that the crisis in India’s water sector—resource depletion and growing scarcity of water perpetuated by the excessive water demands in agriculture—can be sol­ved through agricultural transformation.

The paper narrates a series of problems in the agriculture sector: stagnating growth, declining farmer incomes, increasing and excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides, increasing rates of farmer suicide, soil degradation, and gro­u­ndwater depletion and quality deterioration. These outcomes are attributed to “continued blind adherence” to green revolution technologies. A paradigm shift is proposed, characterised by a change from a “fine-cereal” (wheat and paddy)-dominated cropping pattern to one in which a mix of less water-intensive crops, including “nutri-cereals,”1 predominate.

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Updated On : 8th Jan, 2022
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