Ahead of sowing of kharif (summer) crops, the government’s premier agri-research body ICAR has come out with an advisory to help farmers overcome the impact of the second wave of the pandemic on farm production and their income.
“During 2021-22, second wave of COVID-19 pandemic is again posing a serious problem to the nation, halting economic activities in one way or the other. The resultant actions may impact agricultural production and consequently national food and nutrition security,” said the 400 page advisory prepared by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
However, concerted efforts with suitable technological options can show sustainable pathways under such circumstances, it said. Stating that the 2021 kharif season is approaching in midst of second wave of Covid pandemic, the ICAR advisory said, “Therefore, disruption in normal operations/ logistics usually undertaken during the pre-kharif period is likely.”
To cope with shortages in labour and timely availability of inputs at affordable prices, farmers need to enhance the use of on-farm inputs especially organic manures, adopt best practices for increasing resource use efficiency and reduce cost of cultivation, it said.
In view of this, ICAR has prepared agro-advisory for farmers for the early part of kharif season across the country covering major crops, livestock, poultry and fisheries, it said, adding that the agro-advisory and its regional translations have been organized for respective states. According to ICAR Director General T Mohapatra, “The achievements (in farm sector) in in the previous year, despite first wave of COVID-19, can majorly be attributed to the policy decisions that benefited farmers of every nooks and corners of the country, be it input availability, accessibility to machines in wake of labour reverse migration, marketing support, etc.”
However, “the disruption seems to be even more devastating during the second wave and operations/ logistics can be anticipated to get seriously affected during pre-kharif and kharif periods,” he said in the advisory.
Therefore, promoting best agricultural practices for enhancing farm production and income, while ensuring optimum use of resources, is at the heart of ICAR’s kharif season agro-advisory, he added.
The crop, livestock and fisheries advisories mainly deal with best practices to be adopted by farmers during the ensuing summer period and kharif season. The technical aspects covered in the advisories are related to seed, soil, water, nutrient and health management in crops and livestock enterprises.