ICAR preparing a development index for sustainable agriculture
NAGPUR: For the first time in the country, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is preparing a development index for sustainable agriculture. The announcement was made by ICAR's secretary Chhabilendra Roul during the 42nd foundation day celebration of the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning (NBSS & LUP) held in the city.
Roul said that as a pilot project, the development index will be first prepared for Punjab and Haryana. The council's institutes like National Institute of Agricultural Economic and Policy Research (NIAP) will be initiating the study which is expected to go on for two years.
"We are starting with these two states as they have similar agro-ecological conditions. Based on the results of pilot experiment,the study will be extended across the country," said Roul. He added that studies done by state-level agriculture universities will also be incorporated during the study.
The council has identified about 115 indicators to determine the index. Out of them, 17 indicators will be of soil, 15 of water and remaining will comprise ecological, environmental, bio-diversity and socio-economic parameters.
The council hopes that with a development index in place, the government will be better informed about the status of sustainability and would be able to frame better policies for farmers' benefits.
Former director of Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) C D Mayee highlighted the drastic increase in the area where cotton is cultivated. "Earlier, the crop would be cultivated in 80 lakh hectares in the country. Now, the area has gone up to 120 lakh hectares and the main reason behind this is market-controlled farming," he said.