Last Updated: Friday 10 July 2015

Watering down the truth

The statement by P K Thungon, minister of state for water resources and urban development, that groundwater is either underutilised or overexploited (April 30, 1994), is a surprising one. In fact, in most states groundwater has been so overexploited that many areas have been declared "dark zones". In others, sweet water has given way to saline/brackish water.

A study by the Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, found that water resources in Punjab have been so overexploited that unless immediate corrective methods are adopted, the state will be on the verge of a water famine. Some time ago, N S Randhawa, former director general, Indian Council for Agricultural Research, had stated that if present policies continued, Punjab would become a desert. A similar situation prevails in states such as Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.


Farming on record

For some time, Indian agriculture was under the spell of new technological practices that lay emphasis on pesticides and fertilisers, hybrid seeds and heavy agricultural implements. The consequences -- severe soil deterioration and poisoning of food and fibre -- were overlooked. Now, the consequence has been that the yields have stagnated.

So farmers are switching to sustainable agriculture -- natural and organic farming, permaculture and biodynamic farming -- once convinced that such alternative practices are both low-cost and environment-friendly. Farmers have devised their own practices, incorporating the knowledge of their forefathers.

Prakruti, in collaboration with the Swiss College of Agriculture, is undertaking a documentation of organic farmers and their practices. This will help in promoting sustainable farming in India. We would be garteful if farmers following sustainable agricultural practices filled the questionnaire given below.


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