WHAT IS EXACTLY SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE?
Sustainable agriculture is the hour’s need. It is a way we can protect our future and give the golden essence of nature to our future generation as well. But what is exactly sustainable agriculture? How can it be beneficial to us?
Sustainable agriculture basically means farming in a certain way that we meet the food needs and textile needs of today without risking the future generation’s needs. It is when we understand the ecosystem and then practice agriculture on the land.
Sustainable agriculture consists of nature-friendly ways of farming such as permaculture, agroforestry, mixed farming, multiple cropping, crop rotation, etc.
It includes such methods which allow the production of crops, livestock without any damage to humans or the natural system of the land. It prevents the adverse effect on the soil, water, biodiversity, and the surroundings.
Having a sustainable food system contributes to bringing the sustainability of the human population.
FACTORS AFFECTING SUSTAINABILTY ARE:
Things that can have an impact on the sustainability-
Long-term agriculture practices on the land. We have been practicing agriculture on our land since the day we discovered we can do it. Farming provides us with food to survive. It is not a wish that someone wants to fulfill or have it is a basic need of the human race. One cannot survive without food and for food to eat we need to grow it on our lands.
We have been practicing this for decades that we forgot that the land also needs to be taken care of. The demand for food products have been increasing day by day thus the production has also been increased thus resulting in putting more pressure on the land.
With all this pressure and practices since long, the land becomes unfertile to produce crops on them. It is high time we need to think of our land which gives us food and treat it properly and make it fertile, nourish it so that we can make use of it and save it for our further generation as well.
nutrients such as nitrates, phosphate, potassium are needed for the sustainable agriculture as it is an important source of the soil.
The source of the nitrates that are assumed will be available indefinitely is
- Growing crops like peanuts or alfalfa that forms symbioses with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (rhizobia)
- Genetically engineering crops to form nitrogen-fixing symbioses.
- Recycling crop waste and livestock
- Hydrogen can be made by electrolysis of water using renewable electricity.
It is a basic component in fertilizers. It is the most important nutrients for plants to grow comes after nitrogen. Which makes it a limited resource. Roots strength, seed formation, etc. requires Phosphate.
It is available in organic and inorganic forms in the soil. It also makes up about 0.05% of soil biomass. The phosphate fertilizers come from rock phosphate and rock phosphate is a non-renewable resource. And this is depleting by mining just for agriculture use.
Potassium is the utmost important micronutrient for plants’ development and growth. It is commonly available in fertilizers. Potassium is an important nutrient as it helps to keep away water retention. It improves the yield, taste color, texture, and whatnot of the soil and the plant. They are in use for the cultivation of rice, wheat, fruits, and vegetables.
We know the soil is the major thing and we believe it is in abundance but what we are not looking into is that land degradation and soil erosion is something happening for real and we just can’t ignore it.
Approximately about 10 to 20 times higher the soil erosion is happening to 100 times soil formation process. The countries like southern Africa are losing about a billion or more tonnes of soil due to soil erosion and if it continues the country will be left with a halving of crop fields in about 30-40 years.
The improper soil management is a sign and alarm that if it continues we won’t be having the access to agriculture in the upcoming years.
The intensive agriculture practices lead to reduction of carbon level in the soil, impairing the soil structure, crop growth, and ecosystem functioning and most importantly climate change.
The pressure on the land is increasing day by day as the population is increasing the demand of food is also increasing. The use of the land is increasing extensively and the pressure on the land to produce more quantity of goods is also increasing which results in soil erosion because as we produce more amount of crops in the land more about of soil movement occurs which results in soil erosion.
Converting the large part of land into agricultural lands just to produce large amount of food for the increasing population leads to various climatic changes and also increases the risk of diseases.
Land is the ultimate resource of the earth. But the expansion of the land for agriculture purposes leads to an imbalance in biodiversity and also leads to deforestation.
Having a balance in the use of land for agriculture and expanding the area for agriculture for more production is the only key through which we can save the land.
Energy is now used in every process of the agriculture process. Be it in farms as a machine or tools to perform the farming process or in food processing or in storage or transporting process. It has become the basic need for farming in today’s world. But what about the impact it leaves on nature. From where does all the energy generates or comes from. It takes tons and tons of gallons of water to produce energy. Which i heavy machinery consumes to produce food.
We need to take care about the equipment we use so that the consumption of energy is low as possible. For the quantity of food we are producing. Keeping a check on the consumption of energy per agriculture process is something we can do to save the energy.
Water is important for the agriculture process to function in some areas the amount of rainfall is sufficient to practice agriculture but in other areas, the rainfall itself is not sufficient to have proper farming and thus require water through another medium. The main reason for this rainfall issue is the climatic changes happening due to the conduct of the humans on the land. We have put ourselves in this mess where we have played with nature and the natural resources which have resulted in these climatic changes.
Water is something that is one of the basic needs of life and one cannot survive without it. It is not a luxury is a basic need and we have to take steps to save water.
The earth covers with 94% of the water that is all we know but who understands that out of that 94% only 3-4% of water is drinkable and useful. Other than that they are just covering up the space and is not of any benefit to us till now. Now from 94% we have reached to 3% and the population is growing day by day that leads to demand of water is also increasing day by day.
We have to take actions to conserve water and few of them are:
- Improving the water storage and conserve methods.
- Giving incentives to the farmers who chooses the crops which can be grown in drought.
- Manage the crops in such a way that they don’t lose the water etc.
WAYS TO IMPORVING SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE:
Sustainable intensification focuses on the specific methods of agriculture. It is where the production increases. And the improvement of the environment is also happening at the same time.
Intensive farming is a type of agriculture where both the crop plants and the animals give a high level of input and output per unit of agricultural land area.
It involves increased use of pesticides, fertilizers, plant growth regulators etc. We can have control the process of farming and water input, weeds and pests, soil etc.
India is a country where this particular kind of farming is given more importance. We also believe in the safety of the earth along with the development of the country.
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2. SOIL AND NUTRIENTS:
The changes in the soil for the betterment of the soil and the environment. It is being performed by using compost from recycling centers on the soil. Or the land of agriculture. The kitchen waste, animal waste are the type of the composts which is being in use by the farmers. Just to improve the quality of the soil and to conserve the soil from erosion.
3. PESTS AND WEEDS:
There are a lot of pesticides that are eco-friendly and helps the soil to grow and be healthy. These pesticides and fertilizers are not just to protect the plants from pests and weeds. but also nourishes the soil for the better health and life of the soil.
It prevents the soil from erosion.
Sustainable agriculture also includes the crop rotation method. It is good for the plants and for the land as well. The effective type of crop rotation helps in reducing the pest pressure on the crops and helps them take up a good amount of nutrients from the soil. This somewhat reduces the need of pesticides for the crops but for the safety of the crops, one should always use a better quality of pesticides which does not affect the land and crops just kills pests.
It is high time that we have been ignoring. All the factors which are asking us to move to sustainable agriculture methods to produce goods and food. We believe food is the basic need of life and growing it very important.
But at the same time, it does not mean that we have the right to ignore our land just because we have our own needs to fulfill. Along with it, we need to see that and observe that all these things are being needed in the future. By the future generation and we need to save it up for the future generation. We need to promote the best alternative ways and methods to protect the land along with producing efficiently.
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