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Govt need to prioritize crop diversification, alternative fertilizers, Agri allied sectors: Economic Survey

Govt should prioritize crop diversification Agri allied sectors use of alternative fertilizers - Economic Survey

Govt should prioritize crop diversification, Agri allied sectors, use of alternative fertilizers: Economic Survey 2021-2022.

The agriculture sector has proven robust to the COVID-19 shock and is expected to increase at 3.9 percent this fiscal year, according to the Economic Survey, which recommends that the government prioritize crop diversification, related farm sectors, and alternative fertilizers such as Nano urea. The Economic Survey 2021-22 also advocated for more agricultural R&D and organic farming, as well as the employment of new technology such as drones.

‘The performance of agriculture and the associated sector has been robust to the COVID-19 shock. Development in allied sectors such as livestock, dairying, and fisheries has been the key drivers of overall growth in the sector,’ according to the Survey.

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In the last two years, the agriculture industry has grown rapidly. It is expected to grow at 3.9 percent in 2021-22, up from 3.6 percent in the previous fiscal year, according to the report.

Crop diversification in oilseeds, pulses, and horticulture 

According to the Survey, ‘the increasing importance of allied industries such animal husbandry, dairying, and fisheries in development and income of farmers implies that attention needs to move more towards exploiting the potential of associated activities.’

According to the most recent Situation Assessment Survey (SAS), associated sectors have remained reliable sources of income for groups of agricultural households, accounting for around 15% of their average monthly income.

Crop diversity, on the other hand, may be utilized to enhance sustainable agriculture, reduce import dependency, and increase farmer revenue.’Crop diversification toward oilseeds, pulses, and horticulture must be prioritized by resolving the basic challenges of irrigation, investment, financing, and markets in their development,’ the report stated.

While the govt has adopted the use of minimum support price (MSP) as a signal to encourage crop diversification, it added that there is also a need for coordinated action from state governments to facilitate the shift to high-value, low-water-use crops in order to achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income in a sustainable manner.

R & D play significant role in sustainable agricultural

The Survey said that R&D in agriculture and associated sectors may play a significant role in the realization of sustainable agricultural practices that efficiently achieve the objectives of nutritional security and farm income enhancement.

According to the report, research reveals that every rupee invested in agricultural research and development generates higher returns than money spent on subsidies or other inputs. ‘Increased agricultural R&D may thereby boost production in crop and associated industries,’ it stated.

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Aside from that, the Survey stated that there is a need to investigate and promote the use of alternative fertilizers such as Nano urea and organic fertilizers that preserve the soil, are more productive, and lead to greater nutrient usage efficiency.

‘The emphasis should be on the application of new technologies, such as drones and AI-based decision support systems, the decrease of chemical fertilizer usage and the use of low-cost organic inputs, and the promotion of start-ups for innovation,’ it said.