Integrated Farming System Model
“Development of site specific and appropriate crop/enterprise-based models is suitable for different agro-ecological situations”.
Intensive monoculture systems have led to soil exhaustion and serious pests and diseases, thereby, leading to frequent crop failures in the farmer’s fields. A very high variability in rainfall has also added to the problem. Market risk is also very common. Many years, the farmers had no alternative but to sell their produce at lower prices at distress prices. The profit margin started shrinking in regular years because of steep increase in the cost of inputs and not so encouraging market prices. A high variability is noticed in market prices, which usually recorded very low prices at the time of crop harvest. All these things have led to dissatisfaction of farmers and there is steady migration of farm youth from the agriculture sector/rural areas to urban areas leading to many problems in urban areas also. Agriculture is not considered by rural youth as an assured source of income that can provide livelihood. Under such circumstances, Integrated Farming Systems is the only saviour, which involves meaningful combinations of many complementary and supplementary enterprises leading to optimal sustained use of natural resources, effective utilization of available by-products, profitable employment to all family members throughout the year, high degree of stability in income generation and prosperity of the farmers. Crop production activity which is a major activity in many of the farms is subject to very high degree of variability due to natural as well as market risks. This risk can be overcome by combining dairy, sheep rearing and other enterprises which have a steady market and serve as a source of good income generation. Livestock component viz., dairy enterprise provides income on a daily/weekly basis, whereas, seasonal income is obtained through the crop components.
Why Integrated Farming Systems:
Adoption of Integrated Farming System leads to sustainability and stability in farm income through multiple enterprises that aim at maximum utilization of available natural resources to meet the family needs. It aims at generating a threshold level of farm income required for the farm family to maintain sustained interest in farming thus preventing migration of people from the farming sector. Integrated farming system, which is a synonym to family farming, provides an opportunity to profitably engage the available man power in the farm family to the fullest extent throughout the year leading to higher income and family satisfaction. A good IFS aims at least dependence on outside resources and efficient recycling of available farm resources. Though IFS can be explained as a system composed of several mutually cohesive and complementary agro based enterprises, no common model can be suitable for all the situations. IFS models have to be developed based on the agro-climatic situations, holding size, availability of resources like land, water, labour, marketing, facilities, risk factors, family size, ability of the farm family members to participate in the farming activity, their knowledge/skill level etc.
The proposal for adoption of modified Integrated Farming Systems:
There was an impact which could be measured in terms of monetary benefit and also some of the indirect benefits which have a long term benefit to the system. Intercropping of red gram variety BRG-2 in maize main crop; Groundnut varieties GPBD-4 and GPBD-5; Planting of fodder grass slips of Co-3 on bunds; Feeding of azolla to milking animals; Growing of kitchen gardens; Multi-storied garden in areca; Planting of multi-purpose trees through Avenue Plantation; Cultivation of multi-cut fodder sorghum variety SSV-2; Cultivation of fodder Bajra variety.
The organization has organized the “Awareness Camp on Climate Change” in the villages of Huzurabad Mandal in Karimnagar District, under the National Environment Awareness Campaign. The problems of climate change is due to the practice of modern agricultural methods and extensive usage of chemical fertilisers. Organic farming management relies on developing biological diversity in the field to destroy pests and the purposeful maintenance and replenishment of soil fertility. Organic farmers are not allowed to use synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
Organically produced food is more nutritious than present inorganically produced food and is safe to consume. Also, organic farming does not totally exclude the elements of modern agriculture. Varying agro climatic conditions are to need inputs from the current technological advances. The foundation has also set up demonstration of medicinal tree plantation in the premises of Elementary School of Huzurabad. It also encouraged people to participate in planting the samples in the school premises. The villagers were involved in the concept of control of climate change through plantation and conservation of water along with the adoption of organic farming.