STEPS TO TACKLE EFFECTS OF ERRATIC MONSOON ON AGRICULTURE
Climate change is a potential threat to Indian agriculture. And therefore, there is a need to develop climate smart agriculture practices, especially in the rain-fed areas in the country. There are ways which can help overcome what erratic monsoon could cause.
1. Accurate weather forecast
There is a need to provide accurate and timely forecast of weather reports so that farmers and concerned agencies can prepare in advance to meet unprecedented challenges. The India Meteorological Department, in collaboration with some agricultural universities, has been broadcasting medium-range weather reports and guides for agricultural and allied activities every Tuesday and Friday. However, the manner in which the reports are being disseminated has been rather ineffective. So, this calls for better channels to make broader dissemination possible in order to reach out to farming communities.
2. Crop Selection
Crop varieties for dryland and arid regions should be of short duration and drought resistant which can be harvested within rainfall periods and have sufficient residual moisture in soil profile for post-monsoon cropping. Farmers can be encouraged to cultivate millets, sorghums, pulses that are drought hardy in nature and shorter in duration.
3. Cropping systems
In rain-fed red soil, pulses like cowpea can be raised as companion crop with base crop of sorghum. In black soil, cowpea with sorghum, cluster bean with cumbu (bajra) and short duration red gram with groundnut can be sown.
4. Integrated farming system
Integrating agriculture with horticulture and animal husbandry can be encouraged so that animal feeds can be sourced from the fields, and at the same time animal manure can be used in place of chemical fertilisers. Application of organic manure improves water holding capacity of soil. Such integration and diversification can improve farm fertility and minimise the impact of crop failure farmers could face.
Integrating agriculture with animal husbandry can be encouraged so that animal feeds can be sourced from the fields, animal manure can be used in place of chemical fertilisers. Usage of organic manure improves water holding capacity of soil
5. Agronomic management
Some of the practices such as midseason correction, mulching and foliar spraying of anti-transparent would help in overcoming droughtrendered problems.
6. Alternate land use
In frequent drought-hit areas, pasture management, ley farming, dryland horticulture and agroforestry systems, including alley cropping and silvi-pasture, can be encouraged.
7. Water harvesting and implementation of small irrigation projects
There is a significant yield gap in rain-fed dominated areas when drought occurs. By adopting rain water harvesting structure and small irrigation projects, the increase in crop yields can be achieved.
8. Rainwater management
Efficient rainwater management can increase agricultural production from dryland areas. Application of compost or farmyard manure and raising legumes add organic matter to the soil and increase the water holding capacity. During heavy downpour, water is not retained by the soil which flows out as surface runoff. Under this condition, contour bunding in fields and ploughing across the slopes will hold the rain water and also prevent soil erosion.
9.9 Supplemental irrigation
Excess runoff water can be h harvested by proper land treatment o or stored in dugout ponds, and recycled for supplemental irrigation during the critical stage of the crop.
10. Watershed management
Watershed management is an approach to optimise the use of land, water and vegetation. These are considered as solution to overcome drought, moderate floods and soil erosion, and to improve water availability and ultimately to increase fuel, fodder and agricultural production on a sustained basis.
11. Development of information system at local level
There is a need to build a strong information system at the village level for the benefit of farmers, which requires decentralisation of responsibility and capacity building of people at the local level. Training and keeping one climate manager or monsoon manger at village level can help advance the system.
Watershed management is an approach to optimise the use of land, water and vegetation. These are considered as solution to overcome drought, moderate floods and soil erosion, and to improve water availability and ultimately to increase fuel and fodder