India is predominantly an agrarian country. Agriculture employs almost half of the country’s workforce. It is also responsible for providing livelihood to the majority of the country’s population. However, with the growing demand for food, the agriculture sector of the country is caught between providing food at affordable prices and generating the necessary income to meet the basic standard of living for the majority of the population.
About 70% of the arable land in India is drought prone, 12% is flood prone and 8% is cyclone prone. The Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC has predicted that there will be a significant drop in agriculture yield in the country owing to climate change.
Agricultural production contributes to climate change significantly. In fact, it is responsible for more than a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions in a year in India. Agriculture also dominates the country’s freshwater use, accounting to about 70% of total consumption. Along with this, increasing use of chemical fertilisers because of government subsidies has increased dependence on groundwater for irrigation. This has caused depletion of groundwater in several states such as Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi.
In order to make agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative and climate resilient, the government of India have conceptualized some initiatives. The National Mission on Agricultural Extension and Technology was initiated to restructure and strengthen agricultural extension to enable delivery of appropriate technology and improved agronomic practices to the farmers. The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana was launched to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand the cultivable area under assured irrigation, improve on-farm water use efficiency, enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was launched to provide financial support to farmers suffering from crop loss or damage due to unforeseen events. It is also aimed at stabilizing farmers’ incomes to ensure their continuity in farming. The government has also initiated a pan-India electronic trading portal called as National Agriculture Market which networks the existing agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis to create a unified national market.
Sustainability in Agriculture is an important issue that needs immediate attention. The public sector needs to partner with the private sector through CSR to bring sustainability in Indian Agricultural Sector.
Thank you for reading the column until the very end. We appreciate the time you have given us. In addition, your thoughts and inputs will genuinely make a difference to us. Please do drop in a line and help us do better.
The CSR Journal Team