Farmers told to adopt modern technology to enhance production
Kohima, March 26 (EMN): Underscoring the current food security crisis and other prevailing issues, the district horticulture officer (DHO) of Kohima, S Senka Jamir, on Saturday stressed on the need to adopt modern technologies to aid agricultural production for a sustainable future.
Senka stated this while delivering the keynote address at the inaugural programme of a three-day district-level workshop-cum-seminar on ‘Micro-irrigation under PMKSY: 2019-20’ for Kohima district at the conference hall of the directorate of Horticulture on the theme “Per drop more crop.”
The official maintained that the present society is living in an unprecedented time and added that uncertainty continues to surround not only India but the world. While pointing out that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has been the talk in every household, he has attributed the war for the impact on the global economy, especially on the agriculture sector. Citing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) observation, Senka stated that the Russia-Ukraine war would impact higher inflation levels, disrupt supply chains and reduce business confidence as they are the biggest players in the global agricultural sector.
As India depended on Russia and Ukraine for the supply of several key agricultural commodities, he stated that a combination of war and sanctions on Russia could prove to be more than a headache for the Indian agricultural sector. According to him, around 11% of India’s total fertiliser imports came from Russia and Ukraine.
Towards this, he viewed that a shortage of fertiliser components could disrupt the production of crops and farmers income in India. He added that 90% of edible oil, especially sunflower oil, comes from Russia-Ukraine.
In this regard, he stated that it was crucial for the farming community to take adequate steps to reduce the impact of the conflict in Ukraine and Covid-19 pandemic on food and nutritional security.
“Intensified but sustainable crop production will be a key factor in addressing these challenges. Ecologically, crop intensification can protect marginal lands from further development and save water resources. Intensification on a smaller land area also has potential to reduce crop production inputs and crop protection inputs. These include seed, fertiliser, herbicides, pesticides, crop scouting, crop insurance, harvesting costs and any other input cost that has a fixed cost per land area basis,” Jamir said.
He added that the farming community must not only increase the food supply but also conserve water and protect water quality. He also expounded that micro irrigation (MI) has great potential to intensify crop production at a greater level. He stated that micro irrigation could play a huge role in the highly-productive agricultural systems and reduce waste of water to a negligible amount as well as reduce the transport of contaminants to surface water and groundwater.
“Irrigation can be fine-tuned to spoon feed water and nutrients just in time to minimise plant water stress. It can optimise crop production and increase the quality of horticultural products,” he added.
To enhance horticulture productivity, Senka advocated inclusion of high density planting, canopy management, rejuvenation of old orchards, protected cultivation, mechanisation, reduction in post harvest losses and most importantly use of micro-irrigation.
Experiences were shared by Vikongu Khate from Khonoma village and Neituo Keyientsu from Rusoma village, while vote of thanks was proposed by Medoneinuo Semou, horticulture assistant.
During the technical session, Watila Longkumer, project coordinator of North Bengal Irrigations, spoke on “Empowering horticulture farmers through smart farming for nutritional security,” while Imnashin Jamir, senior agronomist and state head of Solar Nation, spoke on “Micro-irrigation intervention to revolutionise farmer’s livelihood” and Khandara Medhi from Netafim India, spoke on “Challenges and handling of micro-irrigation for promotion of horticulture crops.”