Bhopal, December 30, 2016: Madhya Pradesh is all set to make its villages smarter. This has prompted them to set an ambitious plan to develop 1,100 ‘climate smart villages’ with an aim to prepare the farmers combat the climate change risks and ensure better productivity.
“The government has been planning to develop 1,100 villages as climate-smart villages in a period of next six years,” said Dr. Rajesh Rajora, who is state Farmer Welfare and Agriculture Development Department Principal Secretary, mentioned PTI report.
The project will incur a cost of Rs. 150 crore every year and will include 100 villages in each of the 11 agro-climatic zones of the state, said Dr. Rajora. He also said that “ The work is being taken up under the National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP) and Indian National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture.”
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In addition to using drought-resistance seeds, the farmers will also be encouraged to go for short duration variety of crops.
“The focus would be on integrated agriculture, which comprises animal husbandry, fisheries, in addition to traditional farming. Agro-forestry would also be adopted in these villages,” Rajora said. It conserves and protects the natural resources as it helps water retention and stops soil erosion.
He mentioned that integrated nutrients management would also be implemented to help in soil fertility and plant nutrients supply through optimization of all possible sources of organic, inorganic and biological components.
Rajora said, “In addition, the integrated pest management, zero tillage, raised bed gardening techniques and micro-irrigation would also be introduced in the climate smart villages. This would help farmers to increase the productivity amid all challenges of climate change,”.
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The technique of growing crops, time and again, without disturbing the soil through ploughing is known as zero tillage method, another agricultural expert said. He said “The micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinklers would not only reduce the water use but also lessen the use of fertilizers and energy.”
International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will help the state government in this initiative, said Rajora. Along with this an international NGO working in the field of agriculture and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), a global agriculture research partnership will also take an active part in this program.
While mentioning the partner organization Rajora said “ The Centre has set ICISAT, the UN organization, as nodal agency for developing the climate-smart villages. We would also seek expertise from scientists of two agriculture universities at Jabalpur and Gwalior in addition to state government’s scientists in various district headquarters,” mentioned PTI.
According to agriculture department officials, various equipment and sensors would also be used in these villages to help the farmers.
Block level soil testing laboratory will soon be opened as said by the state government. A plan is also on the anvil to provide soil health cards to farmers under state government’s efforts to double farmer’s income in five years. ‘Krishi Cabinet’ has been constituted to ensure sustainable agricultural growth. The cabinet comprises of ministers of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries, cooperatives, water resources, Narmada valley development, energy, panchayat, rural development and SC/ST welfare departments.
MP had also received Krishi Karman award for 2014-15, the fourth during past five years, for increasing the food grains production and productivity by 254 lakh tonnes and 1,719 kg per hectare, respectively. Government has also claimed to have increased the irrigated agriculture area to 40 lakh hectares from 7 lakh hectares in 2003.
– prepared by Saptaparni Goon of NewsGram. Twitter: @saptaparni_goon