Sustainable Crop production under Stress Environments
About this eBook
Preface The world population is estimated to exceed eight billion by 2025. Each year between now and 2025 there will be approximately 90 million additional mouths to feed. Arable agricultural land currently occupies about 1.3 billion hectares and is not expected to increase much in the foreseeable future on account of a variety of reasons. Agriculture has always been a core sector of Indian economy. More than 90 of human food and about 50 of medicines are provided by crop plants. The importance of the agriculture is evident from the fact that about 30 of the country's GDP is contributed by this sector. Two-third of our workforce is employed in agriculture and dependent on agriculture. In the past, the Indian agriculture had been guided mostly bv the pressing demands of food. Fortu nately. with the concerted efforts of agricultural scientists and the farmers combined with appropriate financial and policy support by the government, the "Green Revolution" was achieved by the production of wheat and rice cultivars that primarily responded to higher inputs of water and nutrients. Notwithstanding these impressive achievements, the problems of food and nutritional security, poverty and management of natural resources are still of immense concern to us. Thus, sustained food and health security depend on the progress we make in improving the productivity, profitability, stability and sustainability of major cropping systems. The challenge to sustain food production at a desired growth rate appears to be difficult for a country like India that has a large proportion of rainfed and unfavourable environments viz soil salinity, acidity, extreme tempera tures, etc. However, sustaining and improving crop production in abiotic stress environments is feasible with new technolo gies and scientific understanding. There is a scope to bring
Sustninnble Crop Production Under Stress Environm ents
large underutilized area under cultivation through soil amendments and introduction of crop choices and planta tion in the wastelands, moisture conservation measures, introduction of crop species varieties matchng the avail able water balance in fallow lands. Research should also be focused for maximizing the productivity of rainfed crops as well as neglected crops like small millets, grain legumes and tubers which can perform in times of environmental stress and in neglected areas such as arid and semi-arid coastal and mountain areas.