Next Generation Crops

Integrated Agricultural & Rural Development.

IARD program promotes sustainable livelihoods by building the capacities of farmers, including women producers, on improved agricultural practices and new technologies that increase crop yields, conserve water, and improve soil fertility. AMF team members works with small-holder farmers in rain-fed and irrigated areas to facilitate adoption of improved and advanced agricultural practices that include soil health management, crop production management, input-use efficiency, small farm mechanization, water-efficient irrigation techniques, horticultural development, livestock management, and the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in agriculture.

Why Do We Need IARD

With one-seventh of the world’s population, India’s economic stability is dependent on the sustained growth of agriculture and allied activities. Agriculture in all its sectors is the primary source of livelihood in India. However, despite productivity improvements, the yield of the Indian agricultural sector remains low by international standards, and only marginally higher than the world average.

The Government of India has set an ambitious target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. In order to achieve this goal, it promotes holistic development of on- and off-farm agriculture activity to provide better returns to farmers. The crucial challenge for India’s agricultural development is to ensure that small and marginal farmers are able to gain adequate remuneration from farming and contribute to the country’s increasing demand for food. Less-efficient traditional farming practices in India limit farmers from realizing the full potential of their landholding. In addition to the traditional challenges, the changing climate is a major concern in agriculture that impacts small farmers.

Deviations in rainfall, changing temperatures, efficiency, and availability of inputs all have an impact on the crop yield, quality of the produce, and overall output. At the same time, outreach of government agriculture extension services and programs in these remote areas are lacking. All these factors add to the risks in small-scale agriculture, thereby making it non-remunerative.

Crop Productivity

IARD program uses a learn-by-doing approach to build the capacities of farmers to maximize their crop productivity and manage soil health. The team conducts crop demonstrations to teach farmers about the importance of soil testing, quality seeds, appropriate seed rates, seed-sowing methods, essential micronutrients and macronutrients, correct quality and quantities of plant protection chemicals, pest management, weed management, use of compost, and other advanced techniques. In addition, the use of bio-fertilizers is promoted to improve soil microbial activity. This knowledge helps farmers improve crop productivity while maintaining their soil quality. Results are demonstrated on the farmers’ own fields with side-by-side control and treated fields.

Farm Machanization

IARD program increases the penetration of mechanization among small and marginal farmers by providing farm machines to enterprising farmers at subsidized rates. The farmers contribute to the cost of the machinery, which instills in them a sense of ownership as well as entrepreneurship. The program trains farmers to operate and maintain the machines and subsequently earn an extra livelihood by renting these machines to other farmers. The increased mechanization of small farms save labor costs, reduces the risk of weather and labor uncertainties, increases the quality and quantity of produce, and improves return over investment over time.

Enterpreneurship Development

IARD program encourages entrepreneurship among small farmers, and landless women in particular, by supplementing the existing sources of income, mitigating the risk of farmers, and in some cases protecting biodiversity, and promoting food security. Some of the entrepreneurship activities promoted include high-value crop cultivation, horticulture development, goatery management, and farm machinery, among others.

Capacity Building of Farmers

IARD program imparts information about modern and sustainable agricultural practices to strengthen and adapt the capacities of farmers to changing circumstances. The team promotes a wide range of capacity-building methods including classroom training sessions that introduce modern techniques and best practices, on-farm training with practical application of these techniques and practices, field days and exposure visits to introduce farmers to new innovations and approaches, and workshops for peer-to-peer interaction and learning’s. The experts invited from Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s, state universities, and district-level departments to provide knowledge and the benefits of government schemes on agriculture and allied activities.

Animal Health And Nutrition

IARD program promotes animal health to improve milk productivity. Profitability of dairy farming depends upon three main factors: breed of the animal, management, and feeding practices. Inadequate feeding causes nutrition imbalances in milch animals so they do not attain the desired body weight; they remain unhealthy and produce less milk. The program encourages farmers to regularly deworm dairy animals and include high-quality mineral additives to their diet including green fodder. The method is sustainable as dietary supplements are locally available, and training is provided on how to give them to the animals.

Energy Efficiency

IARD program advocates for the adoption of renewable energy in farming practices without compromising on productivity. Usage of renewable energy reduces input costs particularly as an alternative for petroleum products. This has a positive impact on the environment as it reduces the carbon footprint of agriculture. These measures include solar water pumps and solar sprays, among others.

Why Are We Tackling Animal Systems Challenges?

The demand for animal proteins continues to increase, as do the challenges for livestock producers. Producers are eager to reduce reliance on antibiotics, minimize environmental impacts, maintain productivity and improve animal welfare.

Scientific solutions to these challenges can help producers raise healthy, productive animals. Our research ensures that livestock, poultry and aquaculture producers thrive. These solutions also provide consistent access to affordable, nutritious food.

We created the Advanced Animal Systems Challenge Area to enhance animal production. We focus on rigorous scientific research that addresses the urgent problems producers face. Our Advanced Animal Systems research specifically develops solutions that improve animal health and welfare, bolster producer profitability and sustain our food supply.