Agriculture Development-Second Phase
Second phase (1966-1990): Green Revolution and its spread:- The government introduced new kind of seeds to the Indian soil which were invented in various agricultural research institutions in India and from other countries. This marked the second phase of agriculture development. These new seeds are known as High Yielding Varieties. It was also accompanied by use of chemical fertilizers, machinery such as tractors and others besides irrigation facilities. A variety of cooperative banks were set up in rural areas to provide credit to farmers so that they buy raw materials such as seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, machinery required for modern farming.
Dryland Agriculture:- A little over 40% of the total cultivable land in India is irrigated. This percentage can only go up to a maximum of 55%. The remaining 45% cannot easily be irrigated - it would be very difficult and expensive. Thus these areas must depend solely on rainfall. These are the drylands in our country. Some of the main crops grown in these areas are jowar, bajra, groundnut, ragi, cotton, soyabean, tur and gram. Dryland areas are most suitable for certain crops. For example 84% of the pulses grown in the entire country are from these areas. However the production of pulses is not increasing and they are becoming more and more expensive. What should then be done to increase production in such dryland areas? Unlike the cultivation of HYVs in irrigated lands, dryland farming poses different challenges. Conserving rainfall that the area receives is the first step. There are several ways that people can stop rain water from quickly running off, so that it can soak into the ground, and recharge the ground water. This is done through watershed development programmes which include afforestation, bunding, building checkdams and tanks. Also, fertility of the soil needs to be raised by adding organic material (compost and manure). Farmers who grow crops like gram, tur, jowar ,ragi, soyabean, groundnut, and cotton also need support. They may need: new varieties of seeds suitable for different regions, knowledge about the best ways of growing a mix of crops on the same land, loans to purchase inputs, support prices for these crops, etc. Farming of HYVs has now been adopted in dryland regions, too.