Integrated farming system and agriculture sustainability
There are 115 million operational holdings in the country and about 80% are marginal and small farmers. To fulfill the basic needs of house hold including food (cereal, pulses, oilseeds, milk, fruit, honey, meat, etc.), feed, fodder, fiber, etc. warrant an attention about Integrated Farming System (IFS). Undoubtedly, majority of the farmers are doing farming since long back but their main focus was individual components but not in a integrated manner. At the ICAR and State Agricultural Universities level, lot of efforts have been made aiming at increasing the productivity of different components of farming system like crop, dairy, livestock, poultry, piggery, goat keeping, duckery, apiculture, sericulture, horticulture, mushroom cultivation etc. individually but lacking in their integration by following farming system approach. The integration is made in such a way that product of one component should be the input for other enterprises with high degree of complimentary effects on each other. The fodder fed to the cattle produces milk. The dung, urine and litter produce farmyard manure and energy used for crops and fish pond. The siltation of fish pond is utilized as manure to crops. The farmyard manure can substitute about 25% of recommended N P and K for crops, besides improving the physical and biological properties of soil. The fish pond water can be used by gravity method while there is breakdown in electricity supply. Oil-seeds provide nectar for honeybee, edible oils for human and oilseed-cake for animal feed. Integrated nutrient management can enhance the productivity of cereals by 0.5 to 1.0 t/ha. Processing of different products enhances the value addition to the extent of 25 to 50% besides generating 50-75-man days/family/year of employment. The fish pond embankment comprising 20–30% can be used for growing cucurbits and fruit trees which provide effective soil cover to checks the soil erosion and also make the system economically viable. The apportionment of farm land involving different enterprises, viz., cereal (40%), pulses (10%), oilseed (10%), horticulture (15%), fishery (10%), livestock (10%), poultry/piggery/goatry (2%), storage, threshing floor, implement shed, vermicompost, straw storage and farm building etc. (3%) for the efficient use of resources available and to enhance the input use efficiency. The preliminary research investigations advocated the benefits of productivity improvement by 30–50% depending upon the number and kind of enterprises and their management. The information on farming system in a systematic way is presented here. The methodology is explained keeping in mind the work done so far to realize better productivity, profitability and sustainable production systems that would help to solve the fuel, feed and energy crisis, create more employment avenues, ensure regular income and encourage agricultural oriented industry.
Employment, Integrated farming system, Profitability, Resource management.