- India is home to 15% of the world’s undernourished population.
- Food security is a pressing problem in India and in the world. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), it is estimated that over 190 million people go hungry every day in the country.
Evidence for India’s food challenge:
- The yield per hectare of rice, one of India’s principal crops lagging behind countries such as China and Brazil.
- The cereal yield per hectare in the country is also lagging far behind countries such as China, Japan and the US.
- The slow growth of agricultural production in India can be attributed to an inefficient rural transport system, lack of awareness about the treatment of crops, limited access to modern farming technology and the shrinking agricultural land due to urbanization.
- An irregular monsoon and the fact that 63% of agricultural land is dependent on rainfall.
How to overcome the problem?
- India and other countries shows that the adoption of sustainable farming practices can increase both productivity and reduce ecological harm.
- Sustainable agriculture techniques enable higher resource efficiency – they help produce greater agricultural output while using lesser land, water and energy, ensuring profitability for the farmer. These essentially include methods that, among other things, protect and enhance the crops and the soil, improve water absorption and use efficient seed treatments. While Indian farmers have traditionally followed these principles, new technology now makes them more effective. For example, for soil enhancement, certified biodegradable mulch films are now available.
- Seeds can now be treated with enhancements that help them improve their root systems. This leads to more efficient water absorption.
- Better seed treatment, can also significantly improve crop health and boost productivity. These solutions include application of fungicides and insecticides that protect the seed from unwanted fungi and parasites that can damage crops or hinder growth, and increase productivity.
- An efficient warehousing and distribution system is also necessary to ensure that the output reaches the consumers.
Simply bringing down food wastage and increasing the efficiency in distribution alone can significantly help improve food security. Innovations such as special tarpaulins, that keep perishables cool during transit, and more efficient insulation solutions can reduce rotting and reduce energy usage in cold storage. Thus, all three aspects — production, storage, and distribution — need to be optimized if India is to feed its ever-growing population.
What is mulch film?
- A mulch film is a layer of protective material applied to soil to conserve moisture and fertility.
- Most mulch films used in agriculture today are made of polyethylene (PE), which has the unwanted overhead of disposal.
- It is a labour intensive and time-consuming process to remove the PE mulch film after usage.
- If not done, it affects soil quality and hence, crop yield.
- An independently certified biodegradable mulch film, on the other hand, is directly absorbed by the microorganisms in the soil.
- It conserves the soil properties, eliminates soil contamination, and saves the labor cost that comes with PE mulch films.