25 April 2024 : Daily Answer Writing

Q1) What is regenerative agriculture? How is it helpful in addressing the issues of agriculture?

(150 Words/ 10 Marks)

ANS

Regenerative Agriculture is a sustainable approach to farming systems which prioritises conservation and rehabilitation.

 

Regenerative agriculture may be seen as a panacea to the various issues plaguing the agriculture sector such as:

  1. Focus on rice-wheat system has led to mono-cropping, distorting the natural cropping pattern. This has led to soil degradation, stubble burning and associated winter pollution.
  2. Fertilizer subsidieshas ledto overuse ofurea. Leaching of fertilizers to groundwater is causing soil and water pollution. Also, overuse of chemical fertilizers due to fertilizer subsidies has adverse impact on health.

E.g., increased cases of cancer due to heavy-metal contamination of groundwater in Punjab.

  1. MSP system and free electricity incentivizes paddy cultivation in water-scarce region, leading to ground water depletion in Punjab and Haryana); neglect of indigenous crops like millets in the subsidy regime have affected the ecological diversity.
  2. Nutrient deficienciesis on rise due to neglect of nutritious pulses and millets from diet.

E.g., increasing cases of NCDs like Diabetes, Obesity.

  1. Change in food habitsis leading to falling popularity of local cuisines, impacting food and cultural diversity.

Regenerative agriculture focuses on reducing the impact of production on the land and actively mitigates various negative externalities associated with conventional agriculture as:

  1. Regenerative agriculture mainstreams community within the agricultural supply chains, thus reimagining rural economy.

E.g., promoting Farmer Producer Organization (FPOs).

  1. Regenerative farming principles can help adaptation and mitigation measures to ward off the ill effects of climate change.

E.g., Agroforestry can help in carbon sequestration; improved soil organic carbon.

  1. Alternative agricultural practices may improve soil quality and reduce input costs.

E.g., Zero- Budget Natural farming (ZBNF), drought-resistant crops like millets.

  1. Integrated farming for better nutrient recycling and increased farm income.

E.g., paddy fish cultivation, poultry farming etc.; promoting micro irrigation techniques like drip irrigation and precision agriculture to improve farm yield.

  1. Food security: These principles restore intergenerational equity in the farming systems, ensuring that the present consumption patterns do not result in a future food crisis.

E.g., protecting soil health; improving nutrient content of food crops etc.

  1. These principles are economically prudent, especially for the large number of small and marginal farmers.

E.g., use of organic farming can substantially reduce the input cost.

Agricultural in its conventional form has become both a cause and a casualty of climate change. In this context, it is vital to shift towards more sustainable and resilient farming practices. Therefore, regenerative farming should be promoted to balance environment, food security, as well as community.

 

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