The proposed method of agriculture as in this paperwork uses bio-degradable plastics in agriculture and is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity by 37.5% per annum while simultaneously reducing the total water input for agriculture by 65% per annum making it a highly appropriate option for sustainable development which is as well very practical and economically viable. The proposed method is also intended at reducing the time interval between two successive crop plantations so as to improve efficiency by development of manure, which can result in reduction in usage of chemical fertilizers, ultimately reducing bio-magnification.
WWF: World Wide Fund for nature
OECD: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
List of Figures, Graphs and Tables
Fig I: Schematic representation of proposal
Graph 1: Comparison between average global percentage of agricultural land and increase in population
Graph 2: Comparison between water input per hectare per cultivation
Graph 3: Comparison between water input per hectare per year
Graph 4: Comparison between quantities of water required to produce 1 kg of rice
Graph 5: Comparison between productions per hectare per year
Graph 6: Comparison between costs of water per cultivation per hectare
Graph 7: Comparison between costs of water per year per hectare
Graph 8: Comparison between profits per year
Table I: Key performance indicators
Table 2: Water conservation, production and cost analysis
According to statistics produced by WWF, agriculture consumes about 70 percent of the world’s accessible fresh water resources; that would be more than twice the amount of water resources as utilized for industrial (23%) and municipal (8%) purposes. Furthermore, around 60 percent of the water consumed i.e. 1500 trillion litres is wasted by agriculture per year, and giant food producer countries like USA, Australia, China, India, Pakistan and Spain have reached or are on the verge of reaching their renewable water resource limits. As per OECD estimates, 47 percent of the world’s population could be under acute water stress by 2050.“Water scarcity may limit food production and supply” (UN World Water Development Report 3) thus resulting in inflation of food prices, thus an effective use of water is essential for agricultural usage with limited, available and accessible water resources. The agricultural production underperformance in some countries may have as well been caused by the upsurge in the prices of key agricultural inputs like water.
Around 13.2 percent of the global population is undernourished and faced with acute shortage of food due to a shortfall in agricultural productivity. “Efficiency is today’s key issue - production per hectare, cost per unit of production, cost per unit of key production input” (Clay.J, 2004). Moreover, the world’s population growth rate amounts to about 1.1 percent per annum and is estimated to reach 9.6 billion by 2050 when the estimated 47 percent of the population would live under acute water shortage. It is to be noted that regions with scarce water resources show the highest population growth rate, for instance – Middle East with limited water resources shows a population growth rate of 51 percent per annum. However, even as the population expands, the land available for agriculture will remain the same.
The upsurge in population accompanied with a decrease in area of agricultural land area calls for an improvement in efficiency of agriculture by increasing agricultural productivity from the land available. The proposed method of agriculture as in this paperwork uses bio-degradable plastics in agriculture and is aimed at increasing agricultural productivity by 37.5 percentage per annum while simultaneously reducing the total water input for agriculture by 65 percentage per annum making it a highly appropriate option for sustainable development which is as well very practical and economically viable. The proposed method as well is intended at reducing the time interval between two successive crop plantations so as to improve efficiency by development of manure, which can result in reduction in usage of chemical fertilizers, ultimately reducing bio-magnification.
“During the crop growth period, the amount of water usually applied to the field is much more than the actual field requirement.”(Guerra et al., 1998). The water used for preparation of land in the Ganges Kobadak irrigation project in Bangladesh is as high as 1500 mm, as reported by Ghani et al., 1989, whereas the amount of water typically required for land preparation is 150-250 mm. The predominant causes of wastage of water used as an input for agricultural purposes could be:
· Wastage of water due to percolation; as majority of the water used as input for agriculture flow out of the plantation without being used up by the crop. Seepage and percolation is responsible for 50-80% of the overall input of water for agriculture, however seepage occurs only at boundaries unlike percolation which occurs throughout the land area.
· Wastage of water due to evaporation - the loss of water from soil due to evaporation and resultant drying of the soil, ultimately leading to increased water input requirement.
As stated hitherto, the agricultural land available will remain the same even as the population expands. In fact, the average global percentage of agricultural land has shown a slight decline (Graph 1) of approximately 0.75 percent globally in 2012 since 2002 as per data produced by the World Bank.
Moreover, the global income growth rate is not proportional to the upsurge in global food prices, which poses the challenge of reducing global food prices; which may perhaps happen with an upsurge in production to meet the demand in areas that are deficit in food resources. The predominant constraints faced by agriculture to improve agricultural efficiency could be the time interval required between two successive crop plantations and availability of water at the right moment during crop production.
Owing to the single reason that using non-biodegradable plastics may result in perpetual water percolation, as well during monsoon which may conceivably have a tendency to ultimately result in flooding and depleted groundwater levels. If however, biodegradable plastics are used, the same will degrade (biologically) in a span of six to seven months. Usage of fully bio-degradable plastics below soil so that water used for agriculture will not percolate deeper unnecessarily. At the same time, a layer of bio-degradable plastic over the soil (leaving sufficient area for crop growth) will reduce loss on account of evaporation.
Limitations of this method:
Materials include traditional farming equipment along with biodegradable plastics, rice seeds and datasheets. At the onset, the required materials are organized and seedlings of rice are grown to be transplanted into containers. The containers is initially be filled with 7” of soil and then a sheet of biodegradable plastic is placed and the container is again filled with 9” of soil. 4” of soil is kept aside for manure development. Seedlings are transplanted and biodegradable plastic sheets fill the soil on either sides of the seedlings.
After harvesting the first crop, the bio-degradable plastics have to be changed and the soil used for development of manure will have to replace 4” of soil present in the container, which will have to undergo manure development during the course of crop growth.
Key performance indicators
· Number of harvests per year.
· Quantity of water used.
· Yield per year.
· Comparing input and output values.
· Percentage of water conserved.
· Other uses for saved water which may lead the overall economy.
eg: Industrial usage and Cattle feed
Main Observation Data
*View graphs 2 through 8
Note: The method as proposed in this paper is comparatively much more effective in terms of agricultural productivity, economic returns and viability, while it allows 4 agricultural yields per year compared to the average 2.5 yields per year.
The presented proposal addresses both the issues of wastage of water due to percolation and evaporation; thus bringing down the overall water input by 65 percentage simultaneously increasing agricultural productivity by 37.5 percent. The author of this paper is content of achieving the required results i.e. a reduction in overall water consumption and increase in productivity. Also, there is a 53.4 percentage improvement in profit whilst accomplishing the hitherto.
This proposed method is most suitable in places with acute water scarcity or in places where water for irrigation is expensive. The author optimistically believes that the proposed method may give a relief to world hunger since it will be a win-win solution for both farmers and consumers globally. Consumers will be benefited by availability of food at a lower price since supply will be able to meet the demand due to enhanced productions.
Limitations of this method:
This method is more suitable used in places where water is scarce. Furthermore, effects can be enhanced when cultivation is made in co-ordination with weather forecast so as to make sure there is percolation of water to ground during rainy periods. Farmers must have access to bio-degradable plastics and must be educated on this method and implementation.
The experiment results are fully reliable and the results are dependent on its implementation globally. This method is sustainable, environment friendly and cost effective.
The world is marching towards acute water stress by 2050, and hence, measures are to be taken proactively for saving the future of generations to come. Therefore, immediate implementation is to be undertaken by willing organizations and government bodies.
1. Clay, J. (2004) World Agriculture and the Environment: A Commodity-by-Commodity Guide to Impacts and Practices Island Press
2. The United Nations World Water Development Report 3 – Water in a Changing World
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