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Economic Survey 2018-19 calls for irrigation water productivity to benefit farmers

ANI | Updated: Jul 04, 2019 19:11 IST

New Delhi [India], July 4 (ANI): Devising policies to benefit farmers by improving water usage, should become a national priority, stated the Economic Survey 2018-19 tabled by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
"Focus should shift from 'land productivity' to 'irrigation water productivity'. The thrust should be on micro-irrigation that can improve water use efficiency," stated the survey.
The survey has flagged the issue of the growth of water-intensive crops in the agricultural landscape of the country.
"Around 89% of groundwater extracted is used for irrigation and crops such as paddy and sugarcane consume more than 60% of irrigation water," said the survey.
It also mentioned the ill-effects of usage of fertilizers and indicated usage of organic fertilizers is a better way out for the future.
"The costs of fertilizers are key determinants of profitability of farming. The fertilizer consumption which was continually increasing since 2002 has shown a declining trend after 2011. Fertilizer response ratio has been declining over time indicating declining responsiveness of soil fertility to fertilizer application," the survey stated.
"The Economic Survey suggests the use of optimal dose based on soil health status, promotion of neem coated urea, promotion of micronutrients, promotion of organic fertilizers and promotion of water-soluble fertilizers. Organic and natural farming techniques including Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) can improve both water use efficiency and soil fertility. The main aim of ZBNF is to eliminate chemical pesticides and promote good agronomic practices that are eco-friendly and less water consuming," it added.
"The gross value added in agriculture has improved from a negative 0.2% in 2014-15 to 6.3% in 2016-17 and then declined to 2.9% in 2018-19. While the crops, livestock & forestry sector showed fluctuating growth rate over the period from 2014-15 to 2017-18, the fisheries sector has shown rapid growth from 4.9% in 2012-13 to 11.9% in 2017-18. The average annual growth rate in agriculture and allied sector has remained at around 2.88% during 2014-15 to 2018-19," the survey stated. (ANI)