NEW DELHI: India is among the most inefficient agriculture producers in the world – and all major crops – wheat, sugarcane, cotton – consume large quantities of water. Agriculture consumes 83 percent of India’s water resources, leaving only 17 percent for domestic and industrial use, according to a recent report in The Hindu Business Line. In addition, India has among the lowest yields per crop in the world.
The Indian Express reports that “canals now meet only 27 percent of the state’s irrigation needs. The balance 73 percent is from groundwater extracted through the free power that costs the government Rs 5,700 crore annually. The ratio should be the other way around.”
The Water Resources Group analysis predicts that India will be able to meet 50% or the country’s projected demand by 2030 – if some significant changes are not made.
But there is hope!
Multiple solutions appear to be on the way, most under the umbrella of precision agriculture, every part of which is using technology to minimize the need for resources like water and maximize crop yield. Some experts believe that making Agri-tech a primary component of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan can transform Indian agriculture with the potential of doubling farming income.
India has been gaining help from the tiny nation of Israel. Seventy years ago, Israel was a wasteland. Virtually nothing was growing there. Existentially forced to develop innovative ideas to grow crops, Israel has become a world leader in efficient techniques that produce, high-quality, high-yield crops.
As part of a continuing and growing alliance, Israel has been sharing its methods to help India overcome the imbalance of efficient water use, the topographical obstacles, and outdated practices to quickly evolve into an advanced agricultural state where farming is no longer a concern for subsistence or a drain on the water supply.
Imagine an India with an abundant supply of water simply because of a dramatic reduction in agricultural demand while, at the same time, becoming a consistent producer of vegetables to feed its population and still have plenty to export.
We usually think of clean water access solely in terms of purification and sanitation. Inculcating precision agriculture has the potential to transform India into an efficient agriculture country while also dramatically reducing agriculture’s drain on the country’s water supply.
Want to learn more about how Israel is helping India utilize the latest technologies in the field of agriculture? Watch this video. In just 97seconds, you will be amazed at the potential.