Agricultural scientist M.S. Swaminathan on Thursday called for a ‘new agriculture’ that is sensitive to the nutritional needs of the population and also to changes in rainfall and heat patterns.
Speaking at the inauguration of an international conference titled “Climate Change and adaptation: Empowering small holders and ensuring food security,” organised here by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, he said there was a need for the scientific community to find solutions to sea-level rise, temperature rise and climate change.
“We need to take into account the income of farmers,” he said, adding that even a 1.5 Degree Celsius increase in temperature would affect the wheat crop in north India. Professor Swaminathan stressed on the need for making rainwater harvesting mandatory in the fields and in homes.
Avinash C. Tyagi, secretary general, International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage, said there was a need to study how irrigation can be made sustainable and affordable. During the Green Revolution, the main thrust was to increase the areas under paddy and wheat crops and the dependency was more on groundwater. “Now, groundwater sources have been exploited and therefore, we need to look at bringing in technology into irrigation,” he said.
Narendra Singh Rathore, deputy director general (agricultural education), Indian Council of Agricultural Research, said the Centre’s aim was to double the income of farmers through targeted interventions. “We are looking at cattle-based agriculture and want youngsters to take up farming. Integrated farming approaches will help balance incomes,” he added.
L. Narayana Reddy, director general, WALAMTARI, Hyderabad, Udaya Sekhar Nagothu, director, International Department, NIBIO, Norway, S. Suresh, dean, TNAU (Madurai) and V. Geethalakshmi, professor, TNAU spoke on the occasion.