ICT and Farm Services
Better climate management through integration of information from short, medium and long term weather forecasts into location and farming systems specific action plans for better crop management, providing drought resilience and sustained and enhanced productivity.
Despite the new technologies and enabling mechanisms, making small holders farming viable is a continued challenge. The livelihoods of the families depending on small farms are at threat due to continued forces of globalisation where economy of scale becomes prime driver of profitability. In this context, research on diversified farming system with market linkages are critical. There is an urgent need to identify a variety of off farm livelihood opportunities in rural areas that can strengthen the land resources, agriculture and livestock sector or which support the rapidly growing service sector in semi urban areas.
New Policy Initiatives
In order to effectively translate the above strategies into reality, a number of new policy initiatives are required at panchayat, district, state and national level. The watershed strategy has to be modified with more focus on livelihood enhancement of the entire village community. New institutional innovations and enabling mechanisms have to be put in place so that the community can sustain the gains made through new technology and derive long term benefits. Watershed has to be the nucleus on which all public and private funded farm development activities have to converge. This new approach may be tried in the 200 backward districts identified for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The proposed National Rainfed Areas Authority (NRAA) hopefully will address this convergence issue urgently.
Considering that the rainfed areas have to play an important role for achieving the next quantum jump in food production, there is a need to set up a technology mission on rainfed agriculture which can bring together the research and development efforts on pulses, oilseeds which are currently under different missions and also include the related issues of fodder production and livestock farming. Only a mission mode approach can help in realizing the target of 2 t/ha of productivity of major rainfed crops set out in this road map from the current level of 1 t/ha, which is attainable looking to the current yield gap between attainable yields and the current yield levels of farmers with proper management strategy.