The farmer’s livelihood is dependent on the timely arrival of monsoon rains. A shift in climate patterns resulting in floods, drought and other climate disasters has led to the decline in crop productivity. In this scenario, it is extremely important that farmers make provisions to conserve resources especially soil and water.
Here are few ways in which Indian farmers can save water and use it well throughout the year:
a) Harvesting the Rainwater
Large amount of water can be saved through the use of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater harvesting can help in mitigating unpredictable climatic conditions such as drought and depleting groundwater levels.
b) Using efficient Irrigation Systems
Modern and efficient irrigation methods like Drip and Sprinkle irrigation can help in conserving water significantly. Drip irrigation saves up to 80% more water than the conventional method and further improves yield by around 20%. Through the drip method of irrigation, the plant gets the water directly at its roots, unlike the traditional overhead spray method.
c) Black Plastic and Organic Mulches
Black plastic mulch can save 25% of the water requirements. It keeps the ground warm and allows for early crops by reducing water evaporation. Organic mulches, such as vegetable and coffee grounds or winter rye are not only an effective way of helping the soil retain moisture, but they also decompose over time providing soil nutrients.
d) Adopting best agricultural practices
There are far reaching benefits of following good agricultural practices and sustainability led farmers understand the benefits. It involves using good quality planting material and optimal use of resources as it improves the quality of soil so that it can hold moisture and oxygen and help the plant to thrive. Using good quality seeds and innovations that can reduce use of water are essential for practicing sustainable agriculture.
e) Drought-Tolerant Crops
Drought-tolerant plants have built-in features to minimize water loss and maximize water uptake. They can survive extended periods with no precipitation or irrigation. Lately, Indian farmers have seen delay in blooming of summer fruits such as mango and jackfruit. Therefore, there is a huge demand among Indian farmers for drought resistant and high yielding plants.
A growing population means every country will need more food. The unpredictable weather patterns damages produce, making them expensive. For keeping the farms profitable, farmers will need to use natural resources and most importantly conserve water and use it efficiently. These techniques of conserving water will help them largely in practicing sustainable agriculture.