Author: Chandra kant Tripathi
'Farming' is a process of harnessing solar energy in the form of economic plant and animal products. 'System' implies a set of interrelated 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. Sustainable agriculture means an integrated approach to increasing farm yield and managing resources in order to address all three critical aspects of sustainability: economic, environmental and social. ISAP has adopted the Integrated Farming Systems (IFS) approach to stabilise income streams through natural resource management and livelihood diversification. The IFS approach has multiple objectives of sustainability, food security, farmer security and poverty reduction. It involves use of outputs of one enterprise component as inputs for other related enterprises wherever feasible, for example, cattle dung mixed with crop residues and farm waste can be converted in to nutrient-rich vermi-compost. Salient features of IFS
- innovation in farming for maximising production through optimal use of local resources,
- effective recycling of farm waste for productive purposes,
- community-led local systems for water conservation, organic farming,
- developing a judicious mix of income-generating activities such as dairy, poultry, fishery, goat-rearing, vermicomposting and others.
Goals of Integrated Farming System
The four primary goals of IFS are-
- Maximization of yield of all component enterprises to provide steady and stable income.
- Rejuvenation / amelioration of system's productivity and achieve agro-ecological equilibrium.
- Avoid build-up of insect-pests, diseases and weed population through natural cropping system management and keep them at low level of intensity.
- Reducing the use of chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) to provide chemical free healthy produce and environment to the society.
- Fish farming
- Duck rearing
- Pigeon rearing
- Mushroom cultivation
- Azolla farming
- Kitchen gardening
- Fodder production
- Goat rearing
- Sheep rearing
- Seed Production
- Value addition
- Such farming system increases production to meet the demands of Nigerians.
- Proper processing of waste and related substances increases the profit of farmers.
- Intensification of crops growth maximizes income in relation to area, time and efforts. Soil remains fertile for a long time due to the correct use of organic waste.
- Most of the waste is converted, has a value and used within the framework of the integrated system.
- Integrated farming system ensures influx of income. This means that within a year it will be possible to make profit constantly from different agricultural sectors with separate seasons.
- The main thing is to choose the right spheres for work so that there are no idle times and pauses without income.
- There is a need to create the database on farming system in relation to type of farming system, infrastructure, economics, sustainability etc. under different farming situation.
- Need to develop research modules of farming system under different holding size with varying economically viable and socially acceptable systems.
- The assessment and refinement of the technologies developed at research station at cultivators' field.
- Need to prepare a contingent planning to counteract the weather vagaries/ climate threats under different farming situation.
- Need to prepare a policy draft for the consideration of planners for its promotion at large scale with nominal financial assistance either through short/ medium/ long term loans and other promotional advantage
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