(The Gist of Science Reporter) ECO – AGRI REVOLUTION  [FEB-2018]


(The Gist of Science Reporter) ECO – AGRI REVOLUTION

 [FEB-2018]


ECO – AGRI REVOLUTION : PRACTICAL LESSONS AND THE WAY AHEAD

THINKING about revolution, this is what this book offers - timely solution to eco-agriculture restoration in the anthropogenic era. "Eco-agriculture", a relatively recent concept, promotes socially and ecologically improved sustainable rural land use practices, and higher levels of bio-diversity within production systems.It also focuses on ecosystem services including bio-diversity and watershed services at a landscape scale so as to make more space available for wildlife habitat.

The author starts with a holistic view of man-earth and environment, their inter-linkages in a rapidly worsening situation of the planet's environment. He re-imagines the vision towards a pollution free eco-agriculture system with a detailed synthesis of a range of agro-ecological practices to restore the eco-agro system. So, eco-agriculture entails strategies and activities, such as sustained land use systems based on agroecology, organic agriculture, agroforestry permaculture; increasing agricultural and livestock productivity on lands already in use; educing agrochemical use in rural areas; and establishing corridors (strips of perennial vegetation linking fragments of native forests or natural ecosystem), among other options.

At a time when the SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by the United Nations - put great emphasis on moving away from heavy and hazardous inputs in the agricultural system to more eco-friendly and balanced farming, eco-agriculture is the approach capable of producing enough food and accessible food without harming the environment. This book is about moving from 'Know How' to 'Do How' and brings about rich experience in industrial research and farm-scale demonstrations in different parts of the world to show the practical aspects of Eco Agriculture.

In the Foreword to the book, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan (eminent scientist and father of Green Revolution) says, "Dr. Mehta has shown the way on how we can achieve advances in productivity perpetuity without ecological harm and therefore this book is extremely important and timely."

 His 20:20 model for Eco Agriculture is increasingly regarded as the practical and appropriate model for the coming Eco Agri Revolution. This model is considered as most suitable for eco agri revolution and water management practices . It increases farm production by over 20 % and reduces input cost by over 20 % and that too in a sustainable manner. This sustainable agro-ecology practice emerges as one of the significant practices in this book. Further, this model seems relevant and practical for most countries of the world as emphasized by Prof. LiJi (of Beijing Agri University, China) in his message: "I hope this book and its 20-20 model will initiate policy makers, industry leaders and practical farmers (in India, China and other countries) into the mainstream of 'Eco agriculture revolution' in this changing world".

The author's field experiences in the area of Bioshield, Water use efficiencies, ICT, Rehabilitation post disasters viz. earthquake and tsunami, Saline water agriculture and River revival projects, Urban agriculture and their common link for Eco Agriculture Revolution make the book especially significant.

Though each of these topics and the author's field experiences are well documented, one feels that more detailed accounts and the world scenario should have been elaborated in more detail. There are at least three chapters regarding multi microbial mixtures for bio-composites from agro wastes, eco-village-clean village and a possible solution to crop residue burning which are technically very important but how to scale up such efforts and policy guidelines needs further elaboration.

Finally, the author describes the 'Way Ahead' for the Eco Agri Revolution including aspects of soil and water and COP 22. The conviction about the coming Eco Agri Revolution and planning and implementation for a sustainable future are the final thoughts that make this book extremely valuable.

In his message, Dr. R. Chidambaram (Principal Scientific Advisor to the Govt. of India) says, "It (the book) should have a major impact on agricultural planning and practices in India and around the world.”

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