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The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture

Considering adverse impacts of climate change on the socio- economic development of the country, India proposed the National Action Plan on Climate change in 2008. The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is one of the eight missions introduced to address risks associated with the impacts of climate change on Agriculture and to make appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies for ensuring food security, equitable access to food resources, enhancing livelihood opportunities and contributing to economic stability at the national level.

National Mission for Sustainable AgricultureSustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology.  Sustainable agriculture integrates three main goals- Environmental (environmental health), Social (social and economic equity) and Economic (economic profitability). The word sustainability is derived from the Latin ‘sustinere’ and it denotes the capacity to endure. Basically it means conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions for the perfect harmony between the man and the environment as the Agriculture is being as the closest profession of man with the nature, it needs to be well tuned with the surrounding environment.

Agriculture directly impacts food security and has significant share in India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It provides employment to almost two-thirds of the workforce and hence it is an integral part of Indian economy. Agro based industries like sugar, textiles, jute, food and milk processing etc. depend on agricultural production for their requirement of raw materials.

Prime Minister’s Council identified Department of Agriculture & Cooperation and DARE to play the role of Lead Agency for preparation of Mission Document on NMSA. NAPCC has identified the following focus areas (Thirst areas) for NMSA – Dry land Agriculture, Risk Management, Access to Information, Use of Bio- technology.

Priority Areas as indicated in NMSA under the NAPCC are;

Rainfed Agriculture
  1. Development of drought and pest-resistant crop varieties.
  2. Improving methods to conserve soil and water to ensure theirs optimal utilization.
  3. Generate awareness through stakeholder consultations, training workshops and demonstration exercises for farming communities, for agro-climatic information sharing and dissemination.
  4. Financial support to enable farmers to invest in and adopt relevant technologies to overcome climate related stresses.
Risk Management
  1. Strengthening existing agricultural and weather insurance mechanisms.
  2. Development and validation of weather derivative models by insurance providers. Ensure access to archival and current weather data for this purpose.
  3. Creation of web-enabled, regional language based services for facilitation of weather based insurance.
  4. Development of GIS and remote-sensing methodologies for detailed soil resource mapping and land use planning.
  5. Mapping vulnerable eco-regions and identification of pest and disease hotspots.
  6. Developing and implementation of region-specific contingency plans based on vulnerability and risk scenario.
Access to Information
  1. Development of regional database of soil, weather, genotypes, land-use patterns and water resources.
  2. Monitoring of glacier and ice-mass, impacts on water resources, soil erosion, and associated impacts on agricultural production in mountainous regions.
  3. Providing information on off-season crops, aromatic and medicinal plants, greenhouse crops, pasture development, agro-forestry, livestock and agro-processing.
  4. Collation and dissemination of block-level data on agro-climatic variables, land use and socio-economic features and preparation of state-level agro-climatic atlases.
Promoting Data Access 
  1. To improve and expand the data bases on (a) Soil profile, (b) Area under cultivation, Production and yield, and (c) Cost of Cultivation.
  2. To digitize data, maintain database of global quality, and streamline the procedure governing access there to
  3. To build public awareness through “National Portal” on agricultural Statistics.
Use of Bio – technology
  1. Genetic engineering to convert C-3 crops to the more carbon responsive C-4 crops to achieve greater photosynthetic efficiency for obtaining increased productivity at higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and to sustain thermal stresses.
  2. Development of strategies for low input sustainable agriculture by producing crops with enhanced water and nitrogen use efficiency which may also result in reduced emissions of greenhouse gases, and crops with greater tolerance to drought, high temperature, submergence and salinity stresses.
  3. Development of nutritional strategies for managing heat stress in dairy animals to prevent nutrient deficiencies leading to low milk yield and productivity.
  4. Development of salt tolerant and disease resistant fresh water fish and prawn.

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You might be interested in knowing more about Indian Agriculture under the Eleventh Five Year Plan, Government of India.


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