Farming Current Affairs - 2020

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India-Germany sign MoU on Zero Budget Natural Farming

On January 9, 2020, the Andhra Pradesh Government signed Memorandum of Understanding with a German firm to implement Zero Budget Natural Farming in the state.

Highlights

The state Government will take a loan of Rs 1015 crores to spend towards climate resilient Zero Budget Natural Farming. The project aims to cover 2.39 lakh farmers in 600 villages. The project was included in the Budget presentation of 2019. Along with ZBNF implementation, the Government will also implement Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

Zero Budget Natural Farming

It is a chemical-free agricultural farming practice. The Government of India is promoting ZBNF through Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana since 2015-16.

According to Economic Survey, 2018, more than 1.6 lalkh farmers are practicing Zero Budget Natural Farming in over 1000 villages. The ZBNF was first adopted by Karnataka. In 2018, Andhra Pradesh was the first state to introduce an ambitious plan of 100% of natural farming in the state by 2024.

Currently, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is researching ZBNF methods on wheat and basmati.

States practicing ZBNF

The states that are practicing Zero Budget Natural Farming includes AP, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala. All crops can be grown using ZBNF in all agro-climatic zones.

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Vertical Farming: A silent Revolution in Agriculture

The current world population is 7.7 billion (April 2019). According to the United Nations, the global population is to reach 10 billion by 2050 and therefore the food production should increase by 70%.

What is Vertical Farming?

Vertical Farming is the process of growing agricultural crops in vertical stacks in door, in a controlled environment. It uses the same amount of water as that of regular farming. However, the other raw materials consumed by vertical farming is less. According to FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the United Nations, vertical farming consumes 75% less raw material as compared to traditional farming.

In terms of land area, vertical farming will require 6 square metres of land space to produce same quantity of food as grown in 72 square metres of land in traditional farming.

Benefits

Under Vertical Farming, the plants are grown indoors with or without soil. This protects the crops from incessant rains, unruly winds and dry climate. It is well suited for urban areas. The crop yield in vertical farming is more than traditional farming as it adopts two major farming techniques namely hydroponics and aeroponics.

Hydroponics and Aeroponics

In Hydroponics technique, roots are submerged in water that is infused with nutrients. Aeroponics is a farming method where plants are grown in closed or semi-closed environment with nutrients sprayed in the air.

Carbon print

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Emission Gap Report of 2019 says that Agriculture and Transportation are among the five world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. On the other hand, the carbon print of Vertical Farming is very less. With adaptation of nano cost climate control, low-carbon electricity, high-efficiency lighting, vertical farming achieves low carbon foot print easily.

India’s status

In India Vertical Farming has been introduced in 2019. ICAR is working on techniques and adaptations to introduce in the market. However, it has still not found its application at wider level.

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