India is experiencing rapid economic growth, but in the agricultural sector there is plenty of room for improvement. Indeed, there are numerous Indian agriculture problems that pose a current threat to the food supply of the country. These include:
The population of India is growing at a rate of 1.3% per year and for a country that already has a population of 1.2 billion, that means huge growth in the coming years. This is one of the greatest Indian agriculture problems. Not only does overpopulation mean that there is a greater need for food, it also means that agricultural holdings have to compete for space against developments. According to the World Bank, the population density of India is already 411.89 persons/square kilometer.
Solution: Aquaponics uses one-eighth of the land required for traditional farming and produces ten times the yield.
2. Small Land Holdings:
The average size of a land holding in India is very small. Land fragmentation has resulted from the practice of dividing land amongst heirs, land ceiling acts, and in some instances, family disputes. Many small land holdings have excessive manpower and low productivity. They also make it difficult for farmers to adopt new technology and perpetuate impracticality for farm inputs and outputs.
Solution: Aquaponics systems don’t require a massive amount of land, yet they still produce enough crops to make it worth the farmer’s while. Systems might be set up in proximity to local markets so that food output doesn’t have to rely on inadequate roads and transportation systems.
3. Poor Irrigation Systems:
Irrigation problems are a major obstacle to farming in India. Most facilities are inadequate; it was revealed in 2003/2004 that only 52.6% of the land was irrigated. Many farmers are dependent on rainfall; however the monsoon is unpredictable, and can result in heavy flooding. Other areas of the country face extreme water shortages and drought.
Solution: Aquaponics uses one-tenth of the water required for traditional farming. Water is continuously recycled and only 1-3% of total water is lost due to evaporation and transpiration. It is also possible to harvest rainwater to be used in the system.
4. Soils are Depleted of Nutrients:
Agriculture has been going on in India for over ten thousand years, meaning that the vast majority of farmland is either already infertile or on its way to becoming infertile. Deforestation has also hampered soil fertility. Lack of awareness as to how to maintain soil fertility perpetuates this problem.
Solution: Aquaponics systems do not use soil, so fertility is not a problem. Plants receive their nutrients from natural fish waste.
5. Inadequate Food Storage:
One truly astounding fact is that one-third of all produce from Indian crops actually ends up going rotten. This is the result of hot and humid weather, inefficient supply chains, and inadequate storage facilities.
Solution: If aquaponics systems are set up in proximity to markets, there will be a reduced need to rely on cold storage and inefficient transportation methods and less food wasted.
6. Backwards Farming Implements and Practices:
Most farmers face extreme difficulty making a living. The majority are poor and cannot afford to purchase modern technology to increase yield and farm productivity. In addition, there is a lack of awareness as to proper practices for farm productivity.
Solution: Aquaponics is a solution to the problems faced by Indian farmers, but it will take innovation, education, and financial aid.
7. Deep-Rooted Socioeconomic Problems:
The rural population of India is hampered by illiteracy, slow progress, and inadequate social services. Government policies are inconsistent and often do not take into consideration the best interests of the farmer. Moreover, the government intervenes in labour, land, and credit markets. Although there are agricultural subsidies for farmers, they often hamper productivity as opposed to facilitating it.
Solution: It’s going to take a lot to “fix” Indian agricultural problems, however, we believe that aquaponics is definitely a step in the right direction.