Food security, a remarkable result of green revolution
Food Security was made possible by the Green Revolution of the 1960s, through promotion of rice-wheat cropping system in India. This remarkable revolution tremendously helped India’s transition from ship-to-mouth status to self-sufficiency and even to export surplus produce. Advanced Agri-Technology inputs, including irrigation, quality seeds, fertilizer and pesticides, along with assured public procurement on MSP with the support of government and private sectors were created. As a result, food production increased almost 4 times from 82.02 million tonnes in 1960-61 to 315.72 million tonnes in 2021–22. This only resulted in consolidation of Rice-Wheat as mono-cropping system in the country.
Undesirable effects of Rice-Wheat cropping system
Lowering and rising of ground water due to excessive pumping of groundwater
Increased power consumption
Increased cost of cultivation
Ground water contamination with heavy metals
Degradation of Soil, Animal and Human Health
Environmental pollution through GHG emission and stubble burning
Surplus Wheat/Rice production created storage problem and blocking the Govt money.
Loss to Government exchequer to absorb the cost of Power supply
Why need for diversification of rice-wheat cropping system ?
Areas where rainfall and ground water availablility is less, need immediate diversification of the predominant Rice-Wheat cropping system through the introduction of more sustainable cropping systems.
To alleviate the ill-effects of current crop monotony, increased pest survival, reduced soil fertility, health implications and to increase farmers profitability there is an urgent requirement to consider following three major factors for crop diversification.
1. Less water requiring Crops
2. Increased financial reward
3. Potential market value
Coarse cereals like maize; pulses like mung, urad, arhar, etc; oilseeds like mustard, groundnut, etc. and vegetables like potato are suitable alternative crops. They can be a suitable substitute to water-guzzling crops like rice and wheat for maximizing productivity and sustainablity of agriculture.
3M - A suitable cropping system for diversification
This is an alternative resource efficient, cropping system that would enable maximize system productivity and optimum returns. Besides, it will address issues of ground water depletion, residue burni ng, and pressure on the public exchequer due to power subsidies. Thus "Maize-Mustard-Mung (3M) cropping system is an efficient and viable crop diversification solution". This system can provide effective solution to the adverse effects of the rice-wheat mono-cropping system , if adopted initially, in at least 25–30% of the acreage in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh that is currently cultivated predominantly with rice and wheat.
Considering water requirements, market demands, and economic returns, maize, pigeonpea, and soybean can replace rice during the kharif season, and mustard can replace wheat during the rabi season. Mungbean will serve as an ideal fitment spring season crop. Thus, 3M cropping systems based on alternative crop will be more suitable.
Advantages of Resource efficient 3M cropping system:
Increase Cropping intensity without any risk
Improve Soil fertility with the introduction of legumes
Ensure nutritional security through pulse protein-calorie
Reduce environmental pollution
Reduce the import bill of oil & pulses by increasing area under mustard and mung/urad/arhar respectively.
Minimizing the contamination of surface and ground water
Save water consumption by 70%, check lowering of ground water table and will support ground water recharge, bring more area under irrigation by planting less water requiring crops
Save power upto 90%
Save subsidy from government budget for use of free power/water supply for irrigation
Promote the export of Maize and Maize based industry such as starch, polutry and livestock feed industry
Continuous supply of low cost raw material to Maize based industry in the state.
Save the state revenue from import of corn from other states
In brackish water problematic area, cultivation of Mustard provides better crop solution
Ensure availability of quality land and water in the long run for future generation and agriculture sustainability
Continuity of rural employment
Reduced cost of cultivation, increased income, profitability and prosperity of the farmer.
Crop Components of 3M
Maize or corn is the third most important cereal crop after rice and wheat for India. Globally it is highly valued for its multifarious use as food, feed, fodder and raw material for large number of industrial products. However, India remained among the top 10 producers of maize in the World since 1961 and presently ranks 6th with annual output of 31.65 million MT.
Maize requires nearly one-third the water use in rice and less than one-fourth of the water use by sugarcane.
To produce 1 kg of grains, maize requires only 800–1000 litres of water, while rice requires 3000–5000 litres.
Maize production uses 278kwh/ha of power, compared to 2925 kwh/ha forrice.
Long duration Maize hybrid (100-110 days) recommended in 3M system can yeild 24-25 q/acre easily.
Wheat after Maize cultivation advance the wheat sowing, reduce the terminal heat effects on wheat and increase the wheat productivity as compared to rice-wheat system.
Maize can be planted in peri-urban agriculture as a solitary crop or as a inter-crop with other vegetables, providing farmers with a source of additional revenue.
Maize based industries:
1.Feed for Livestock and poultry
Maize is in great demand in the feed sector. Indo-Gangetic plains have the potential to be key maize suppliers in this regard.
2. Starch Industry
Maize is the most important source for starch and allied products. In addition to its many uses in the food, paper, pharmaceutical, and textile industries, maize starch can be used to make bio-plastics, a solution to the problem of plastic pollution.
3. Brewery & Ethanol Industry
Maize is the major source of ethanol in USA. There is ample oppurtinity for India to divert surplus corn for bio-ethanol production. Govt is already promoting Bio-ethanol blending of petrol by 20% by 2030.
• 4. Processed Food Industry
Almost 40% of the popcorn is imported, primarily from the United States. Its cultivation in India will reduce import. Baby corn and sweet corn have the added advantage of exports besides, its use to supplement the dairy industry.
5. Scope for Export
Maize produced in India is more suitable and preferable for export to South-East Asian countries due to its non-GM nature. There is a growing demand within the country as well as the neighbouring countries. India has the strategic advantage to cater to the need of neighbouring countries due to low cost of transportation compared to that of import from USA. With increased international maize price, Indian maize can have better access in world trade of maize grains.
60% of India's domestic edible oil worth Rs. 78000 crores, are imported. The Palm oil consititute the major oil in import, which has poor nutritional quality. To achieve its current demands the nation needs 25 million tonnes of edible oils. During rabi season mustard can be a potential crop in this system.
Mustard a rabi oilseed crop fits well in the 3M cropping system. Compared to wheat, it requires low input, including water .
The primary use of mustard in the human diet is as an edible oil.
Long duration Mustard cultivation is advanced following Maize cultivation and thus helps to reduce the risk of frost and aphid attack, with a concomitant increase in yield.
Mustard variety exceeding 140 days fits well and yields up to 10-12 q/acre.
Increased domestic production will reduce the burden of import of oil.
Oil cake- a byproduct, is utilized in animal feed since it contains a lot of protein.
The use of mustard cake in animal feed can significantly boost the region's milk production and related sectors.
For the vast majority of Indians, especially the vegetarian population, pulses constitute an important source of protein. India is the world's largest producer, consumer, and importer of pulses. Promoting pulse cultivation can help India overcome malnutrition, increase soil fertility through nitrogen fixation, give monetary support to farmers and make the nation self sufficient in pulse.
Mungbean can fit well into the 3M cropping systems.
After Harvesting Mustard, sowing a long duration variety of Mung can yield atleast 4-5 q/acre.
Mungbean can improve soil fertility through biological nitrogen fixation.
Long duration Mung variety of 75-80 days can be accomodated easily in 3M cropping system.
Supplement the protein requirement
Reduce the import of pulses.
Table 1. Comparison of rice-wheat based cropping system for diversification in Indo-Gangetic Plains
When compared to Rice-Wheat cropping System, 3M (Maize-Mustard-Mungbean) can provide an effective solution with lowest cost of cultivation (0.78 lakh/ha), highest net return (1.8 lakh/ha), more potential yield (14.84 tons/ha), more water productivity, less GHG gas emission, fully mechanized cultivation and high energy saving.
Haryana Govt has already made policy to save Ground water and to promote Crop Diversification.
• Always purchase good quality inputs like seeds & crop protection chemicals from authorized sellers
• Treat seeds with suitable crop protection chemicals
• Follow recommended Good Agriculture Practices (GAPs) for better growth, vigor and high yield
• Use balanced doses of fertilizers as per recommendations for the respective crop/soil health
• Insure crop under crop insurance scheme of Govt.
• Every crops are vulnerable to pests and diseases. For effective management get proper advice from SAUs, ICAR-KVKs, State Govt. agencies, agro-chemical industries and other relevant government agencies for use of recommended chemicals.
Dhanuka Helpline (1800-102-1022) and other appropriate knowledge agencies.
The above blog is written by Dr.Sain Dass, Former Director, ICAR-DMR. Dr.Dass and his team submitted a proposal based on Maize-Mustard - Mung (3M) model for diversification of cropping system to Govt. of Haryana for adaptation.