Monoculture farming- depleting natural resources

Context- In the ongoing farm debate in the country the green reality check seems to be missing.

What is agro ecology?

It is a concept where agriculture sector of a country expanded along with keeping environmental protection [agriculture with sustainable environmental practice].

What is monoculture farming and is Impact?

Monoculture is the agricultural practice of growing a single crop, plant, or livestock species, variety, or breed in a field or farming system at a time.

  • Modern agricultural practices emphasize maximizing crop yields, farm incomes and global competitiveness. The single-minded pursuit of such goals has remade land and farms into monocultures.

Monoculture reduces diversity and leads to a host of other problems-

  1. Contributed significantly to climate emissions.
  2. Threatened farmer livelihoods and the natural resource base they depend upon-
  • Destroys soil nutrients– Single crop eliminates all soil nutrients and everything else is killed as pests or weeds.
  • Pollutes groundwater supplies sue to extensive use of fertilizers.
  • Adversely affects and alters the natural ecosystem.
  • Destroys the overall soil’s degradation and erosion.
  • Requires lots of water to irrigate- Monoculture results in the topsoil cover being harvested all at the same time, the topsoil loses elements that could help it retain moisture. Therefore, require vast amounts of water to irrigate the crops.
  1. Distorted food consumption patterns, replacing nutritious millets with polished rice and wheat and negatively affected our nutritional security.

In attempting to offer a new deal to farmers, the new farm laws do not address any of these fundamental concerns. Such changes often affect the resilience of production systems and their role in biodiversity.

How new farm laws and farmers demand promote monoculture farming?

Both government and farmers have continued to ignore the broader ecological and social contexts in which agriculture is embedded.

  1. Corporatization of agriculture through contract farming, higher stocking limits and private marketplaces will accelerate the growth of long supply chains of monoculture commodities.
  2. Guaranteed procurement in the past has incentivized monoculture farming.

What is the way forward?

Government should make policies that go beyond the productivity trope and populist posturing-

  • Instead of a resource-based approach, the need is to develop a relationship-based approach towards the environment.
  • Any sound economic and techno-scientific model must have agro ecology and equity at the core and, must indeed, be guided by them.

Government needs to promote less favoured crops like millets and pulses.

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