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Letters to BS: Lawmakers must study how to use farm resources judiciously

The woes of the agriculture sector have been an ongoing one

Business Standard 

Why recent moves to reduce water in agriculture will have limited impact

This refers to ‘’Agriculture’s 'liquidity’ problem’’ (September 4) by Ruchika Chitravanshi and Sanjeeb Mukherjee. The woes of the sector have been an ongoing one. The genesis of this can be traced to the muddled and short-sighted vision of our policy makers and their political masters. Water is the lubrication that keeps the clock ticking. We have about four months of monsoon rains which we need to utilise judiciously. Most of this water we receive goes waste as we have not yet designed effective water harvesting techniques. There are pockets of villages where water harvesting has been done effectively and these villages have access to water throughout the year to reap multiple crops. Sadly, in most of the neighbouring villages, water has not been harvested in the same manner, leaving those drought afflicted.

Cropping patterns also need to take into consideration soil and water intake. We have numerous examples of crops being sown in terrain not naturally suitable for these crops where they guzzle enormous quantities of water depleting the ground water level. This needs to be curtailed. Presently, this is happening as the pay-out is more profitable when compared to other crops. If incentives are discontinued or disincentives introduced, this practice can be nipped in the bud.

A steady supply of electricity is also said to be a problem hindering irrigation. Solar power usage has been making steady inroads into the hinterland. Instead of depending on the state to provide uninterrupted electricity, if solar power can be generated at the village or taluka level, it could be utilised at the villages.

We need to look at countries like Israel who have mastered the art of judicious usage of resources to reap bumper harvests. Our policy makers should study such success stories. What is feasible from the success of Israel should be made known to our villagers and sought to be introduced after being customised to our reality.

K V Premraj, Mumbai

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First Published: Wed, September 04 2019. 21:51 IST