Agriculture Current Affair 17 April 2020

Conservation agriculture key to better income, environment protection

Resorting to conservation agriculture would not only increase crop yield, income and reduce the use of natural resources, but would also confer climate change benefits, according to a study by Indian agricultural scientists and others published in an international journal on Thursday.

The study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, also showed that conservation agriculture was key to meeting many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, climate action and clean water. Conservation agriculture can offer positive contributions to several SDGs, said M. L. Jat, a Principal Scientist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and first author of the study.

Govt sets foodgrain production target at 298 million tonnes for 2020-21 crop year

The Union Agriculture Ministry on Thursday asked the States to plan for a total foodgrain production of 298 million tonnes (mt) for the crop year 2020-21, increasing mainly the output of pulses and coarse cereals.

The targets were given to State Agriculture Ministers and officials who participated in the national kharif conference organised by the Ministry through video-conferencing.

New targets

While the target for rice and wheat for the coming year remains more or less same as 2019-20’s estimated production of 117.47 mt and 106.21 mt respectively, the targets for coarse cereals and pulses go up by nearly 3.5 mt and 2.5 mt, respectively, to 48.7 mt and 25.6 mt, said Agriculture Commissioner SK Malhotra at the conference, which was chaired by Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Bt technology has made cotton farming more sustainable

When it comes to the contribution of Bt technology towards yield increase in cotton vis-à-vis other agri-inputs, the field evidences squarely differ from the findings of Keshav R Kranthi and Glenn Davis Stone, published in Nature Plants, March 2020, and their contentions as published in the article ‘Bt cotton only increased cost of cultivation: Study’, in BusinessLine dated March 18, 2020.

In the latter, Kranthi articulated three ‘misconceptions’: i) Bt cotton alone increased yields, ii) Cotton hybrids are superior to the other varieties in providing yields, and iii) No increase in yield is possible without new Bt/GM technology.

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