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Today’s Plenary Theme: "River Conservation Synchronised Agriculture"
The 5th India Water Impact Summit (IWIS) organized jointly by NMCG (GoI) and cGanga (IIT Kanpur) entered its fourth day with focus on Synchronising River Conservation with Agriculture. The opening session discussed in depth various agricultural practices and protocols such as organic farming, cropping patterns, automation of canal irrigation and related data, appropriate cropping patterns, preference for coarse grains, etc. The discussions covered issues of agricultural water conservation including need for irrigation micromanagement, local water management groups, and cross-subsidising irrigation water-saving. It was felt that water and electricity consumed in agriculture, irrespective of the actual price charged, need to be shown as agricultural production cost. Promotion of agriculture and horticulture in peri-urban areas, reducing chemical fertilizers and promoting, soil-less farming were also discussed.
In the Plenary Session of the day, Dr. Alka Bhargava, Addl. Secretary, Agriculture, cooperation & Farmers Welfare, recommended organic farming for farmlands near rivers to reduce river pollution. For actualising “more crop per drop” Dr. Bhargava stressed on soil health improvement, micro-irrigation and application of ICAR’s “Integrated Farming System”, and said that these are being promoted by the government through FPO. Also, the “Vocal for Local” policy is helping micro-food enterprises for local food markets, while bio-fuels, horticulture, medicinal plants and black rice production are also being promoted. Dr. Neelam Patel, Sr. Advisor, Niti Aayog, emphasized on nutritional security and, hence, on crop diversification in place of monoculture. Since 2018, the Niti Aayog has been recommending natural farming and on developing community farming assets to reduce crop damages.
The extensive discussions in the above sessions covering overlapping themes of agriculture, river conservation, social development, and technology and knowledge infusion threw up fertile new ideas for synergising agricultural development with river conservation.
After the Plenary Session, the Summit continued its subsequent deliberations on Water Sector Finance and Innovative Environmental Technology presentations.