Indian Agriculture: Needs To Use Less Water & More Technology

In News, Clean Facts, Environment, Sustainability, Technology

NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index of 2019 states that 74% and 65% of the country’s wheat and rice cultivation areas face serious water scarcity.

As per available data, out of 140 million hectares of net sown area, less than 50% is net irrigated and a meager 3% is irrigated using micro-irrigation.

Also, 89% of total groundwater extracted in the country is used for irrigation. The government of India (GoI) had announced a slew of measures over the past few years to tackle the issues of water use, through various schemes and programs.

However, water use efficiency across the country continues to be low at 30 to 40%. Hence, the strategy to address this situation should also change its focus towards shifting from cultivation of water-guzzling crops to crops which consume less water.

Simultaneously, GoI is working towards maximizing the penetration of micro-irrigation and improve the water use efficiency of major irrigation projects.

GoI has been testing the use of drones, soil-based remote sensing, artificial intelligence (AI) and geographic information system (GIS). These technologies will be used by GoI and the state governments to assess crop loss, water availability or the lack thereof, soil conditions, etc.

Urban farmers are using high-tech farming systems in a controlled environment to produce high-value crops such as lettuce, microgreens, Italian herbs.

Though this form of production uses high-end technology, it forms a minuscule part of the food production system and caters to high-end consumers and the hotel, restaurant and cafe (HoReCa) segment.

Reference- Fortune India, NITI Aayog website, Frstpost

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