Integrated farming system-A holistic approach to doubling farmers’ income by 2022

RC Shakywar, Dinesh Sah, M Pathak, BM Singh and AK Pandey
Agriculture is the backbone of our country. Crop production and animal husbandry is an important practice being carried out since time immemorial, but with the change in time, the practices have been changed keeping in view the local/regional and National demands.
Farming is a process of harnessing solar energy in the form of economic plant and animal products. System implies a set of inter related practices and processes organized into functional entity, i.e. an arrangement of components or parts that interact according to some process and transforms inputs into outputs.
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Sh. Narendra Modi has dreamt of doubling the income of every farmer in the country by year 2022 when the country will celebrate its 75th year of independence.
It’s a challenging task, but we are resolute. We will accomplish this through time bound planning and execution. Eastern India, Assam and the North East have a great role to play in bringing second green revolution in the country.
Integrated farming is a whole farm management system which aims to deliver more sustainable agriculture. Integrated farming combines the best of modern tolls and technologies with traditional practices according to a give site and situation. In simple worlds it means using many ways of cultivation in a small available space or land.
Goals of Integrated Farming System
The four primary goals of Integrated Farming System are-
1) Maximization of yield of all component enterprises to provide sound and stable income.
2) Rejuvenation of system’s productivity and achieve agro-ecological equilibrium.
3) Avoid build up of diseases, insect pests cropping system management and keep them at low level of intensity.
4) Reducing the use of chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) to provide chemical free healthy produce and environment to the society.
Advantages of Integrated Farming System
1. Increased productivity through increased economic yield per unit area per time by virtue of intensification of crop and allied enterprises.
2. Improved profitability achieved mainly by way of reduced costs due to recycling of wastes of one enterprise as energy inputs for other systems.
3. Greater sustainability in production on farm due to integration of diverse enterprises of different economic importance. Recycling of wastes being in built in the system, this helps to reduce dependence on external high-energy inputs thus conserving natural and scarce resources.
4. Integration of different production systems provides an opportunity to solve malnutrition problem due to production of variety of food products.
5. The recycling of wastes for production helps to avoid piling of wastes and consequent pollution.
6. The farming system provides flow of money to the farmer round the year by way of disposal of eggs, milk, edible mushroom, honey, silkworm cocoons etc. This will help resource poor farmer to get out from the clutches of moneylenders/agencies.
7. Because of the linkage of dairy/mushrooms/sericulture/fruit crops/vegetable crops/flower cultivation etc. cash available round the year could induce small and marginal farmers adopt new technologies such as fertilizer, pesticides etc.
8. Recycling of organic wastes reduces requirement of chemical fertilizer. Further, biogas production can meet household energy requirement. Thus, IFS, goes a long way in solving energy crises.
9. Fodder/pasture/tree species included in the system help to get more fodder and thus solve fodder crises to some extent.
10. Silvi component used in the system provides fuel and timber wood.
11. Inclusion of timber component in the farming system reduces pressure on forests.
12. Diverse components integrated can provide enough scope to employ farm labour round the year.

(To be contd)