Kurukshetra December 2018 - Science & Technology for Rural India (Part 2) (Download PDF)

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Innovative Technologies for Higher Productivity Major changes in agricultural production took place in mid-1960s w/introduction & adaptation of new production technologies which is known as “Green Revolution” technology. Agriculture is still main livelihood of approximately half of rural households in India & contributing over 16 % to its gross domestic product (GOI, 2018).

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Science and Technology for Rural India - Kurukshetra December 2018 (In English)

Kurukshetra December 2018: Science and Technology for Rural India is explained in this lecture Key Topics included in this Article

  • Population of India is growing at 1.24 % per annum & is expected to increase from 1.21 billion in 2011 to about 1.46 billion in 2030.
  • It is estimated that in year 2035 total domestic food grains demand will be 398.6 mt & milk 237.8 mt against 264 mt & 132.4 mt respectively in 2013 - 14.
  • Climate change & environmental degradation (including important natural resources viz. Land, water, biodiversity) is being considered as one of greatest risk to future world food security especially in African & Asian continents including India.
  • To improve productivity in agriculture, focus has been on improvement of efficiency of critical inputs like irrigation, seeds, fertilisers & mechanization.

Innovations in efficient Input Resources Utilisation:

  • Precision agriculture involves integration of modern technologies (including GIS, GPS & RS) to allow farm producers to manage w/I field variability to maximize benefits-cost ratio.

Site-specific Nutrient Management (SSNM):

  • Based on developed homogenous fertility zones, fertilizer recommendations can be developed for its practical significance for farmers.

Real-time Nitrogen supply:

  • Synchronization between crop Nitrogen demand & available N supply is an important key to improve N-use efficiency.
  • LCC Strategy, which has been calibrated w/SPAD, is a simple & efficient way of managing N in real time.

Use Decision Support System (DSS):

  • Use of software based skills like- Nutrient Experts, Crop manager, GIS & GPS in monitoring & application of nutrients, Integrated use of decision support tool (Nutrient Expert, NE) & Green Seeker (GS) was studied on Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) in wheat, system productivity & economics of maize-wheat system.

Improving water productivity:

  • Water productivity defined as output of goods derived from unit volume of water.
  • In North India, harvested rain water in farm ponds, may be used as a pre-sowing/life saving irrigation in rainfed crops to improve productivity of water.
  • On individual farms, higher water productivity requires selection of appropriate crops & cultivars & proper soil & water mgmt. technology, improved planting methods.

Sustained adoption of Micro-irrigation:

  • Micro-irrigation technologies are promoted in India by Central & State govt. & other organizations w/various financial, institutional & technical support.
  • Subsurface drip is a highly efficient irrigation system that uses buried drip tubes or drip tape to meet crop water needs.
  • W/an appropriately sized & well-maintained sub-surface drip irrigation system, water application is highly efficient & uniform.

📝Nanotechnology:

  • Some of main applications of nanotools are schematically described as below:
  1. Increase productivity using Nano-pesticides & Nano-fertilizers e. g. Nano zinc particles.
  2. Improves soil quality using Nano-zeolites & hydrogels.
  3. Stimulate plant growth w/nanomaterials (e. g. SiO2, TiO2, & carbon nano-tubes).
  4. Provide smart monitoring using Nano-sensors by wireless communication devices.

📝Crop diversification:

  • Crop diversification has become an important option to attain following goals:
  1. Natural resources sustainability.
  2. Ecological balance.
  3. Employment generation.
  4. Output growth & adequate buffer stocks.
  5. Risk coverage & reducing magnitude of risk due to mono-cropping.
  6. Higher profitability.
  7. Resilience/stability in production.
  8. Attaining self-sufficiency in some crops & earning foreign exchange from others.
  • Crop diversification is two types, first one is horizontal diversification which includes diversification thru crop substitution & crop intensification.

Integrated Farming Systems:

  • Integration of livestock rearing w/crop production gave higher economic returns compared to crop production alone for both marginal & small farmers.

Conservation Agriculture (CA):

  • CA refers to systems of raising crops w/o tilling soil while retaining crop residues on soil surface. Land preparation thru precision land levelling & bed & furrow configuration for planting crops further enables improved resource mgmt.
  • Three key features of conservation agriculture are:
  1. Minimum soil disturbance by adopting no-tillage & reduced traffic for agricultural operations,
  2. Maximum soil covers by leaving & managing crop residues on soil surface, as cover/mulch,
  3. Adopt spatial & temporal crop sequencing/crop rotation to derive maximum benefits from inputs & minimize adverse environmental impacts.
  • 👌Main advantages of CA are reduction in cost of production, reduced incidence of weeds, saving in water & nutrients, increased yields, environmental benefits, crop diversification opportunities, improvement in resource-use efficiency, etc.

Integrated Crop Management (ICM):

  • ICM suggests use of good agricultural practices (GAP) which is an alternative system of crop production, which conserves & enhances natural resources while producing quality food on an economically viable & sustainable foundation.

Technology Interventions in Sanitation

  • Every year, about 55 million tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) & 38 billion litres of sewage are generated in urban areas of India.

Waste to Energy:

  • 👌Waste-to-Energy (WtE) also called by term energy-from-waste (EfW) is process of generating energy in form of electricity or heat from primary treatment of waste material.
  • History of waste recovery can be traced back to first incinerator built in Nottingham, UK in 1874.

Incineration:

  • Incineration, combustion of organic material w/energy recovery is most common WtE method.
  • Incineration to convert MSW is a relatively old method & entails burning waste to boil water, which powers steam generators that generate electric energy & heat to be used where required.

📝Other technologies:

  • These technologies include following:
  • Thermal Technologies:
  1. Gasification: producing combustible gas, hydrogen, synthetic fuels.
  2. Thermal depolymerization: producing synthetic crude oil, which can be further refined.
  3. Pyrolysis: producing combustible tar/bio-oil & chars.
  4. Plasma arc gasification or plasma gasification process (PGP): producing syngas including hydrogen & carbon monoxide usable for fuel cells or generating electricity & other products.
  • Non-Thermal Technologies:
  1. Anaerobic digestion: producing Biogas rich in methane.
  2. Fermentation production: Takes biomass & creates ethanol, using waste cellulosic or organic material. e. g. ethanol, lactic acid, hydrogen.
  3. Esterification: result of this process is biodiesel. Cost effectiveness of esterification will depend on feedstock being used, & other relevant factors such as transportation distance, amount of oil present in feedstock, etc.

Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT)

  • In thermal technologies, nearly all carbon dioxide (CO2) to atmosphere.

India: Waste to Energy Potential

  • According to MNRE, there exists a potential of about 1700 MW from urban waste (1500 from MSW & 225 MW from sewage) & about 1300 MW from industrial waste.
  • To promote biofuels in country, a National Policy on Biofuels, revised in 2018.

Gobardhan:

  • 👌As a part of Swachh Bharat Mission, Govt. launched GOBAR-DHAN – ‘Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan’ scheme in Feb 2018.
  • This initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, aims to support biodegradable waste recovery & conversion of waste into resources.
  • This aims to support, creation of clean village which is objective of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), & provide economic & resource benefits to farmers & households.

Plastic Waste:

  • Everyday, about 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste are generated across India, of which, 60 % is recycled & 40 % is disposed unsafely finding its way into drains, oceans, dumping grounds, open burning, & even inside body of many living creatures.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):

  • Indian 2016 Plastic Waste Management Rules also address question of extended producer responsibility (EPR).

📝Technology for managing Plastic Waste:

  • There are 4 main ways of managing plastic waste:
  1. Re-extrusion: This category of mgmt. systems involves introduction of clean scrap of single types of plastic that can be re-entered into manufacturing processes to produce similar materials.
  2. Mechanical Recycling: This category includes variety of mechanical processes performed on plastic waste, before it is introduced in manufacturing processes.
  3. Energy Recovery: Various methods under this category burn plastic to produce energy in form of heat, steam & electricity.
  4. Chemical & Thermal Recycling: Chemical recycling uses advanced technical processes that convert plastic materials into smaller constituent molecules which can then be used as feedstock to produce petrochemicals & plastics.

  • Some examples of use of plastics waste in India.
  1. Plastics for road construction- More than 1200 kms of plastic waste mixed roads in rural areas have been laid by DRDA, Erode Tamil Nadu.
  2. Waste to fuel plant in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu run by Paterson Energy.

Disease Management in Horticultural Crops

  • When losses due to pests are combined w/postharvest losses, worldwide food losses would amount to 45%.
  • It is estimated that approximately 1.8 billion people are engaged in agriculture & most use pesticides to protect food & commercial products that they produce.
  • Developing countries account for 25 % of world pesticide use in farming, but account for 99 % of world’s deaths due to pesticides.
  • About 25 million agricultural workers experience unintentional pesticide poisonings each year around world.
  • There are number of alternative approaches like botanical pesticides, bio-pesticides, plant resistance, manipulation of cultural practices, use of organic amendments, use of physical approaches like soil solarisation & modern molecular techniques of developing transgenic.

Bio-pesticides:

  • Trichoderma spp. are most widely used microbial biopesticide.
  • One of most successful ex. of microbial biopesticide use is in mgmt. of diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) which is most destructive inspect pest on Brassicas vegetables in tropical Asia & Africa.
  • According to figures from BPIA (Bio-Pesticides Industry Alliance), world market for biopesticides grew at a double-digit rate (10%) from USD 670 million to USD 1 billion, b/w 2005 & 2010.

Botanical Pesticides:

  • Botanicals have low mammalian toxicity, target specificity, biodegradability & contain many active ingredients in low concentrations, thus possess biocidal activity against several insect pests & pathogens.
  • India has more than 18 million trees of neem w/seed potential of 4,14,000 tonnes which can yield 85,000 tonnes of oil & 3,30,000 tonnes of oilcakes.

Soil Solarization:

  • It is an effective method to control soil-borne pathogens.
  • Soil Solarization is done by covering moistened soil in summer months w/thin transparent polyethylene mulch for capturing solar energy for heating soil, which becomes lethal to soil-ecosystems & crops.
  • Generally, a layer of thin transparent polyethylene (25 - 50μm) is applied to soil surface prior to planting & mulch is left in place for 4 to 6 weeks during hot season in appropriate climatic region.
  • Bio-fumigation is another effective method of using local bio-resources available in field to disadvantage of plant pathogens.

Biotechnological Approaches:

  • Recently, two new technologies have emerged which seems to revolutionize mgmt. of plant diseases e. g. miRNA based disease mgmt. & development of genome edited crops using CRISPR/cas system.
  • A report from International Service for Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) said that farmers who planted biotech crops have reduced pesticide spraying.
  • ‘Omics’ technologies have allowed us to profile microbial communities living inside & outside of plants & better understand complex plant-microbe & microbe- microbe interactions.

Changes in Crop Growing Practices:

  • Cultural practices that promote soil health include crop rotation, use of crop residues & green manures or organic amendments.

Use of Resistant Varieties of Crops:

  • In stem rust of wheat, threat of new race Ug 99 is looming large but resistance sources have already been screened to counter menace.

Nano-formulations of Pesticides:

  • Among all, plant extract based silver nanoparticles (SNPs) have good potential for mgmt. of various diseases in plants.
  • SNPs can be synthesized thru application of physical, chemical & biological approaches.
  • Biological approach of synthesis of SNPs using plant extracts is most adopted eco-friendly approach.

Scope of Bio-pesticides:

  • Australia is country w/largest organic agricultural area (17.2 million hectares, w/97 % of that area used for grazing), followed by Argentina (3.1 million hectares) & United States of America (2.2 million hectares).
  • In 2009, European Union voted a directive to phase-out a number of chemical pesticides in agriculture & govt. of Sweden, Denmark & Netherlands took lead to announce measures for 50 % reduction in on-farm chemical pesticide use.

Technology Innovations for Soil Health Preservation

Soil Health:

  • Soil Science Society of America defines soil health ‘as capacity of a specific kind of soil to function, w/I natural or managed ecosystem boundaries, to sustain plant & animal productivity, maintain or enhance water & air quality, & support human health & habitation’.

📝Sustainable Soil Health Management:

  • Characteristics of Sustainable Soil Health Management:
  1. Minimum soil erosion.
  2. Good soil physical properties.
  3. Sufficient soil cover.
  4. Stable soil organic matter.
  5. Improved soil fertility & productivity.
  6. Absence of Soil salinization, sodification & alkalinization.
  7. Absence of soil Contaminants.

Table of the Good practices for Soil health preservation

Table of the Good practices for Soil health preservation

Chemical

Indicators

Physical

Indicators

Biological Indicators

Soil pH

Soil texture

Microbial biomass

Soil electrical conductivity

Soil particle & bulk density

Population of soil micro & macro organisms

Organic matter content

Penetration resistance of soil

Soil enzyme activities

Total carbon & nitrogen

Aggregate stability

Pollutant detoxification

Cation exchange capacity

Soil water holdingcapacity

Soil respiration

Soil essential nutrient

Soil aeration & porosity

Soil pathogens

Heavy & toxic metals

Soil infiltration rate

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Science and Technology for Rural India - Kurukshetra December 2018 (In Hindi)

Kurukshetra December 2018: Science and Technology for Rural India is explained in this lecture Key Topics included in this Article

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- Published/Last Modified on: January 10, 2019

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