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Integrated Intensive Farming Systems(IIFS)


The green revolution technologies are often associated with environmental harm. Such damages caused by the excessive use of mineral fertilizers and chemical pesticides as well as enhanced vulnerability to pests and diseases as a result of genetic homogeneity in high yielding hybrid crop varieties cultivated over large cultivated areas. With increasing population there is a steady decline in the per capita availability of land and water. This makes higher productivity per unit pf land and water imperative.

Components of IIFS

IIFS involves intensive use of resources of the farm. Intensification is based on techniques which are knowledge based rather than capital intensive based. The inputs are used are biological. This is brought about through integrated farming involving animal husbandry, fisheries and agroforestry. This provides scope for organic recycling. On farm and off farm employment can then be linked in a symbiotic manner.

  1. Soil health care: Soil health is fundamental to sustainable intensification. Stem nodulating legumes such as Sesbania rostrata and incorporating Azolla, blue green algae and other sources of symbiotic and non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation are a part of the farming system. Vermiculture constitutes an essential component. Green leaf manure and small quantities of powdered neem cake are used. These bulky organic supplements have to be generated on the farm itself to avoid transportation costs over long distances.
  2. Water harvesting and management: Included in the agronomic practices are measures to conserve rain water so that it can be used in a conjunctive manner with other sources of water. Maximum emphasis is placed on on-farm water use efficiency and adopting drip and sprinkler irrigation to optimize the benefits from the available water. Efficiency, economy and equity in water use are to be ensured through cooperative management of watershed and command areas.
  3. Crop management: Integrated nutrient supply is an important component. Plant nutrient can be supplied through different sources viz., organic manures, crop residues, bio-fertilizers and chemical fertilizers. Integrated nutrient supply has to be chosen on the basis of farming system and the agro-ecological and soil conditions of the area. Hybrids and high yielding varieties have to be cultivated. IIFS has to be based on both land saving agriculture and grain saving animal husbandry.
  4. Pest management: Integrated pest management system forms a component. Antagonistic fungi such as Trichoderma viride and other beneficial bacteria like Pseudomonas fluorescence are used to control a host of pathogenic infection in a wide variety of crops. A wide range of botanical pesticides such as neem derivatives, extracts of Vitex nigundo, custard apple seed oil, and a host decotions of local plants are used by farmers for either repelling or eliminating pests. The use of biological agents such as parasites and predators are used in place of toxic pesticides.
  5. Energy management: Energy is an essential input. Every effort should be made to harness biogas, biomass, solar and wind energies to the maximum extent. Solar and wind energy is to be used in hybrid combinations with biogas for farm activities such as pumping water, drying grains and other farm produce.
  6. Post harvest management: Best available threshing, storage and processing measures should be adopted. Value-added products form every part of the plant or animal have to be produced. Post-harvest technology assumes importance in the case of perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, milk, meat, eggs, fish and other animal products.
  7. Information, skill organization and management empowerment: A meaningful and effective information and skill empowerment system is necessary for the success of the IIFS system. Decentralized production system will have to be supported by a few centralized key services such as supply of seeds, bio-pesticides, and diagnostic and control methods in respect of diseases. Timely information has to provide to farmers on meteorological, management and marketing factors. Organization and management are key elements and depending on the area and farming system, steps have to be taken to provide small producers the benefits of scale in processing and marketing.

IIFS is best developed through participatory research among scientists and farmers. IIFS can succeed if it is human centered rather than a mere technology driven programme. The essence of IIFS is the symbiotic partnership between farmers and their natural resources endowment of land, water, forests, flora, fauna and sunlight. It will be difficult for small farmers to adopt IIFS without appropriate public policy support in areas such as land reform, security of tenure, rural infrastructure, input and output pricing and marketing. IIFS methodology shows the path to achieving the goal through agricultural intensification, diversification and value addition in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable manner. IIFS programme properly implemented will trigger an Ever Green Revolution if naturally reinforcing packages of technology, training, techno-infrastructure and trade are introduced.

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Please note that this is the opinion of the author and is Not Certified by ICAR or any of its authorised agents.