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What is Regenerative Agriculture?

Context:

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh who follow regenerative farming methods find that they reduce the need for frequent irrigation, which conserves water and energy.

Relevance:

GS III: Agriculture

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Regenerative Agriculture?
  2. Advantages of Regenerative Agriculture
  3. What are Indian Efforts to Promote Regenerative Agriculture?

What is Regenerative Agriculture?

  • Regenerative agriculture is a holistic land management approach to food and farming systems that emphasizes:
    • Building topsoil
    • Increasing biodiversity
    • Improving water cycles
    • Enhancing natural ecosystems
    • Increasing the ability of farmland to withstand climate fluctuation
    • Strengthening the health and vitality of farms
  • The goal is to increase the resiliency of farms while restoring the vitality of the land and the people and animals that eat the crops.
  • Regenerative Agriculture is modeled after nature’s own healthy ecosystems and can revitalize the livelihoods and communities that engage with the land, now and for generations to come.
  • The practice of Regenerative Agriculture is in collaboration with nature, rather than a struggle against it, and necessitates treating all life with respect.

Advantages of Regenerative Agriculture

  • Regenerative agriculture improves the resources it uses, rather than destroying or depleting them.
  • It advances sustainable agriculture by aiming to not only develop but also maintain resources like soil and water.
  • Healthy soil aids in better water transfer, filtration, and agricultural runoff, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • A healthy soil contributes to higher water use efficiency by storing, transmitting, filtering, and reducing agricultural runoff.
    • According to studies, every 0.4 hectare with a 1% increase in soil organic matter has a greater capacity to store water by more than 75,000 litres.
  • Regenerative farming techniques reduce the energy required by irrigation equipment like pumps.

How is India promoting regenerative agriculture?

  • National Organic Farming Project:
    • The Indian Institute of Farming System Research (ICAR) in Meerut has been conducting the nation’s longest experiment on organic farming since it began in 2004.
  • Systematic Rice Intensification:
    • A technique that increases yields by planting seeds farther apart and using organic manure.
  • Zero-Budget Natural Farming:
    • It is also referred to as Subhash Palekar Natural Farming and places a strong emphasis on creating and using inputs created from fruit, cow dung, and urine, among other things, as well as crop residue.

-Source: Down to Earth


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