Indian agriculture, which provides food to the nation covers around 51% of the net sown area of the country and is primarily rainfed. To fulfill the country’s rising demand for foodgrain, rainfed agriculture must be developed along with resource conservation, climate change, and sustainability. A stable climate and high-quality natural resources are both necessary for maintaining agricultural productivity. Given these parameters, the Government of India launched National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) in 2014-15.
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA):
National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) is one of the eight Missions within the National Action Plan on Climate Change(NAPCC). It focuses on integrated farming, water usage efficiency, soil health management, and resource synergy to increase agricultural production, particularly in rainfed areas. Therefore, it seeks to increase agriculture’s productivity, sustainability, income, and resiliency to climate change. It strives to increase agriculture’s output, sustainability, and climate resilience. To meet the desired goals of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), this mission seeks to completely reform agricultural methods also.
Objectives of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture:
- To increase the capacity of farmers and other stakeholders in the field of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, in conjunction with other ongoing Missions such as the National Mission on Agriculture Extension & Technology, National Food Security Mission, National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), etc.;
- Developing location-specific Integrated Farming Systems, which will increase agriculture’s productivity, sustainability, profitability, and resiliency to climate change;
- To increase coverage to achieve “more crop per drop,” while also maximizing the use of water resources;
- To protect natural resources by taking suitable measures to protect soil and moisture;
- Adopting complete soil health management strategies based on soil fertility maps, applying macronutrients and micronutrients.
- To implement models for increasing the productivity of rainfed farming by mainstreaming rainfed technologies developed through NICRA
- To increase the productivity of rainfed farming areas by utilizing funding from other programs/missions like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP), the RKVY, etc.;
- To develop efficient departmental and ministerial coordination to carry out the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture’s objectives within the auspices of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).
Components of National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture:
- On-Farm Water Management (OFWM): By encouraging cutting-edge on-farm water conservation tools and technology, the main goal is to use water as efficiently as possible. It places a focus on effectively managing and harvesting rainwater. In accordance with this, water conservation on the farm is accomplished by creating farm ponds with MGNREGA mission funding.
- Rainfed Area Development (RAD): It creates a region-based strategy for the improvement and preservation of farming practices and natural resources. It combines several different components of agriculture, including horticulture, forestry, livestock, fisheries, and other agro-based activities that will serve as a source of income. Under this, different strategies will be Implemented to control soil nutrients based on the development of agricultural lands and the soil health card.
- Soil Health Management(SHM): Through the creation and linking of soil fertility maps with macro-micro nutrient management, appropriate land use based on land capability, prudent fertilizer application, and minimizing soil erosion/degradation, SHM seeks to promote location-specific sustainable soil health management, including residue management, organic farming practices, and more.
- Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture: Monitoring, Modeling, and Networking (CCSAMMN): By piloting climate change adaptation/mitigation research/model projects in the area of climate-smart sustainable management practices and integrated farming systems suitable to local agro-climatic conditions, it provides bidirectional (land/farmers to research/scientific establishments and vice versa) dissemination of information and knowledge related to climate change.
Strategies for National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture:
- Integrated Nutrient Management Techniques: The NMSA will concentrate on encouraging site and crop-specific integrated nutrient management practices to improve soil health, increase agricultural yield, and maintain the quality of land and water resources.
- Integrated agricultural system: Under the NMSA, activities such as horticulture, livestock, fishery, agroforestry, and value addition are to be pursued alongside cropping systems.
- Management of water resources: Under NMSA, it is planned to concentrate on efficient management of the water resources that are already accessible and increasing water usage efficiency.
- Agronomic techniques: The NMSA intends to promote better agronomic techniques for higher farm productivity, such as improved soil treatment, increased water holding capacity, prudent chemical usage, and improved soil carbon storage.
- Database: The National Soil Survey Agency (NMSA) aims to promote the adoption of the site and soil-specific crop management practices by building a database on soil resources through land use survey, soil profile study, and soil analysis on GIS (Geographic Information System) platform.
- Technology Adoption: The NMSA attempts to accomplish its goals through promoting resource conservation technology and introducing methods that would aid in disaster mitigation during extreme climatic occurrences, such as protracted dry spells, floods, etc.
- Interventions: NMSA aims to embrace and spread rainfed technologies that have a wider reach in underserved areas. It is planned to be accomplished by coordinating investments from other programs like MGNREGS, National Food Security Mission, National Mission for Agricultural Extension & Technology, etc., and leveraging those investments.
- Professional involvement: NMSA will work with academic institutions and industry experts to create climate change adaptation and mitigation techniques for particular agro-climatic settings and to promote these strategies through suitable agricultural systems.
Regulations for implementation of NMSA:
- A set of recommendations has been created by the Ministry of Environment and Forests to simplify the regulatory framework for harvesting and moving agroforestry species.
- The program’s financial resources will be distributed and used under the regulatory framework of CAMPA.
- The creation of a comprehensive agriculture strategy, the National Agroforestry Policy 2014, which is anticipated to encourage state-level agroforestry practices
Sub-Mission on Agro-Forestry scheme under NMSA:
- Since 2016–17, the National Mission for Sustained Agriculture has implemented the Sub-Mission on Agro-Forestry scheme (SMAF).
- SMAF intends to persuade farmers to grow multi-purpose trees alongside agricultural crops to improve feedstock, the wood-based and herbal industries along with increased climate resilience.
- Currently, 20 States and 2 UTs are implementing this scheme.
The main goal of this scheme is to address the growth of agroforestry methods for the country’s enhanced crop production and economic gain. The scheme is only in place in the states that have relaxed their transit laws to allow for the shipment of lumber, and it will be expanded to other states as and when those states notify others of the relaxations. It encourages the use of indigenous species or tree species with therapeutic benefits.
The Sub-Mission on Agroforestry will operate under the auspices of NMSA, with funding distributed per a 60:40 GoI: State Govt ratio for all states except the eight states in the NE Region, the hilly states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Jammu & Kashmir, where the fund sharing ratio would be 90:10. The farmers would receive financial support equal to half of the actual cost of the initiatives.
The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture will address the critical issues of “Water Use Efficiency,” “Nutrient Management,” and “Livelihood Diversification” by adopting a sustainable development strategy that gradually adopts eco-friendly technologies, and uses energy-efficient tools, protect natural resources, and promotes integrated farming. Additionally, it seeks to advance improved agronomic practices that are specific to a given geographic area through improved soil health management, increased water use efficiency, crop diversification, and progressive adoption of crop-livestock farming systems.
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