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What We Need To Know Climate-Smart Farming: The Latest Advances in India

In the fight against climate change, agriculture embraces innovation, empowering farmers with resilient crops, precision techniques, and data-driven solutions, fostering sustainability and resilience in the face of environmental challenges.

Eashani Chettri
India primarily uses traditional methods of farming, but not all of tech is good as well
India primarily uses traditional methods of farming, but not all of tech is good as well

We’ve all heard the news. Climate change has been ruling the conversation ever since Greta Thunberg’s powerful speech at the gathering of world leaders. Climate change has existed long before that, it was just that her moving speech brought the conversation to a household level. And India, with our rich history of indigenous farming- has grown to realize that perhaps, some of our ancient farming wisdom wasn’t so bad after all. 

 

However, turning back time is not an option and the statistics are not really in favor of traditional agriculture. Modern problems require modern solutions, though we can always look back in time for some inputs. There are some of the advances that we’ve made in our slow but steady fight against climate change:

Resilient Crop Varieties:

Scientists have developed climate-smart crops like Bina Dhan 11 and flood-tolerant rice varieties such as Swarna-Sub1. Bina Dhan 11 was created by the Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA) and has a yield potential of 5.5 tons/ha. This variety, which can withstand complete submersion for two weeks, with a yield advantage of 1-3 tons/ha over other varieties when grown under submerged conditions, it also produces medium-slender grain. Swarna-Sub1 is a type of high-yielding rice variety bred for flood-prone areas. It is a semi-dwarf variety that reaches a height of 105-110 cm and matures in 140 days. It was developed through a collaborative program and has been distributed to farmers who cultivate rice in flood-prone conditions.

Precision Agriculture and Digital Technologies:

Precision agriculture has revolutionized farming practices by employing digital technologies and data analytics. In India, remote sensing, drones, and satellite imagery are used to assess crop health, monitor soil moisture levels, and determine optimal irrigation schedules. Some companies include Cropin which uses AI models to provide ag-knowledge graphs that are location and crop agnostic, intelligence at the crop, location, and pin code levels, and convergence of satellite imaging and cloud computing. Aibono enables farmers to outsource their agricultural management to it using the concept of "Farm Management as-a-Service." This startup employs AI and data analysis skills to gather a significant quantity of knowledge and data on smart farming from farmers and specialists, after which it may offer useful information to its clients.

 

 

Climate-Resilient Farming Techniques:

Climate-smart farming techniques like conservation agriculture and agroforestry are gaining popularity in India. Conservation agriculture, crop diversification, the use of organic inputs, and agroforestry are some measures. Climate-wise farming can also decrease the demand for fertilizer, which will result in less tractor use on the part of farmers. Farmers would not need to regularly fill up their tractors with gas, which is one of the greatest causes of greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment and accelerate global warming if they used their tractors less frequently. Additionally, this gives farmers more money that they can utilize to increase the capacity of their current harvesting systems. 

Farmer-Centric Approaches:

Initiatives focused on farmer empowerment are promoting climate-smart farming practices at the grassroots level. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) provides financial assistance to farmers for installing efficient irrigation systems, reducing water wastage, and promoting water-use efficiency. Allocations under the MGNREGA can be specifically used for climate-proofing projects like agricultural ponds, participatory watershed systems for managing soil and water, plantations and agroforestry. The agriculture industry is intended to be more robust to a changing environment through the implementation of specific programmes like the Paramparagat Krishi Vikash Yojana, Soil Health Card plan, Neem-coated urea, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, etc.

 

Agriculture can be sustainable if data is used properly in decision-making. In fact, data analysis and mathematics are seen as natural extensions of creative farming. Farmers deal with a variety of factors every day, from varying soil composition to changing weather. In order to implement the best farming practices, such variations need to be properly studied. Smart farming, which places a strong emphasis on the use of big data in decision-making, can assist in solving some of these issues effectively and achieving any production targets that may be set.

 

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