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GENESIS AND EVOLUTION OF ICAR-MGIFRI

Integrated farming (or integrated agriculture) is a commonly and broadly used word to explain a more integrated approach to farming as compared to existing monoculture approaches. It refers to agricultural systems that integrate livestock and crop production. Integrated farming system has revolutionized conventional farming of livestock, aquaculture, horticulture, agro-industry and allied activities. It could be crop-fish integration, livestock-fish integration, crop-fish-livestock integrated or combinations of crop, livestock, fish and other enterprises.

The principle of integrated fish farming involves farming of fish along with livestock or/and agricultural crops. This type of farming offers great efficiency in resource utilization, as waste or by-product from one system is effectively recycled. It also enables effective utilization of available farming space for maximizing production. Fish culture in combination with agriculture or livestock is a unique and lucrative venture and provides a higher farm income, makes available a cheap source of protein for the rural population, increases productivity on small land-holdings and increase the supply of feeds for the farm livestock.

Integrated farming is based on the concept that “there is no waste”, and “waste is only a misplaced resource which can become a valuable material for another product” (Edwards et al., 1986) it is generally considered particularly relevant to benefit the rural poor. All the components of agriculture like crop-livestock-fish-forestry-horticulture are integrated in a complimentary way. Soil and water conservation is also given due importance in this type of farming system. Thus, the integrated farming system may provide the environmentally sustainable and economically viable technology that encompasses rational utilization of available resources of the region. The emphasis in such system is on optimizing resource utilization rather than maximization of individual element in the system.

Integrated fish farming would be part of the farming system since integrated fish farming is one of the three agricultural systems, which hold promise for meeting global food requirements. Form 45 million tonnes in 1973, the total world fish production has touched 130.21 million tonnes in 2001, of which, capture fisheries contributed 92.36 million tonnes while the share of culture fisheries was 37.85 million tonnes. There has been a rise and slump in the capture fisheries sector and the fish production, which was 92.30 million tonnes in 1995, had increased to 95.44 million tonnes in the year 2000, but again dropped down to 92.36 million tonnes, signaling the inconsistency that prevails in this sector.

The integrated farming system approach introduces a change in the farming techniques for maximum production in the cropping pattern and taken care of optimal utilization of resource. The farm wastes are better recycled for productive purposes in the integrated system. A judicious mix of agricultural enterprises like dairy, poultry, piggery, fishery, sericulture etc. suited to the given agro-climatic conditions and socio-economic status of the farmers would bring prosperity in the farming. An integrated farming system allows us to use some of the advantages of nature, and ecology, as opposed to relying on chemistry to solve all our production issues.

The integrated Farming System involves agricultural intensifications, diversification and value addition. It helps improve physical and economic access to food, thereby fostering sustainable food security at the level of each individual in a household. The main purpose for such systems are:

  • To provide viable alternative to shifting cultivation.
  • Synergistic role of livestock in farming system rather than primary producers,.
  • Biodiversity enhancement as the “alternative” feeding system, using mainly local plant resources, which provide comparative advantages to indigenous animal ecotypes and opportunities for greater use to indigenous knowledge.
  • Complimentary of crop-animal-fish-birds-multipurpose trees-horticulture.
  • Selecting and promoting crops and farming system which optimize use of natural resources without depleting them.
  • Matching the production system with the available resources.
  • Recognizing that “poverty” and not “food”, is the major constraint to equitable development.
  • Soil fertility build up through various sources of nutrients like N2 fixing hedgerows, vermicompost and various other organic manures.
  • Maximum return per unit area per unit time in terms of produce and money.
  • Soil and water conservation.
  • Better use of farming system component by decreasing pollution.
  • Benefit to the community at large through supply of essential commodities throughout the year, providing year round employment to the farming family and reducing cost of production.
  • Insurance against the failure of individual crop/enterprise etc.

The world population is growing very fast. In 1950 it was 2.5 billion and increased to 5.3 billion by 1990. The projects for 2030 show the world population rising to 8.9 billion (Brown and Kane, 1994). The world food submit convened by FAO in Rome in 1997 predicated that food and feed production in developing countries must be tripled by the year 2050 to cater the demand created by the expected doubling of the human population and their increasing aspirations for a higher standard of living.

Integrated farming is based on the concept that “there is no waste”, and “waste is only a misplaced resource which can become a valuable material for another product” (Edwards et al., 1986) it is generally considered particularly relevant to benefit the rural poor. All the components of agriculture like crop-livestock-fish-forestry-horticulture are integrated in a complimentary way. Soil and water conservation is also given due importance in this type of farming system. Thus, the integrated farming system may provide the environmentally sustainable and economically viable technology that encompasses rational utilization of available resources of the region. The emphasis in such system is on optimizing resource utilization rather than maximization of individual element in the system.

Conformity with the plan priorities and national objectives.

The principle of integrated fish farming involves farming of fish along with livestock or/and agricultural crops. This type of farming offers great efficiency in resource utilization, as waste or by-product from one system is effectively recycled. It also enables effective utilization of available farming space for maximizing production. Fish culture in combination with agriculture or livestock is a unique and lucrative venture and provides a higher farm income, makes available a cheap source of protein for the rural population, increases productivity on small land-holdings and increase the supply of feeds for the farm livestock.

India has 7.36 mha of inland fishery resources including 1.24 mha of brackish water resources. The total inland fish production during the year 2010-11 has been estimated to be 4.98 million tonnes from inland fisheries. India also has a livestock population of 529.70 million and a poultry population of 176.23 million as per 2010 census. Freshwater productivity at the national level is 2.5 tonne/ha with per capita fish availability of 8.50 kg/yr. If fish and livestock sectors are integrated, it will have the potential to increase freshwater productivity manifolds. Integrated fish farming not only offers opportunities to increase water productivity but also address the issue of food and nutritional security at household-level. Freshwater productivity is particularly low in the eastern states (range 0.24-2.16 tonnes/ha).

Problems to be addressed at local/regional/national levels, as the case may be, through scheme/project.

It is well known that average size of land holding has reduced over the years and it has come down to around 1.2 hectares per holding in the country. With increasing population, the pressure on land is going to increase considerably in the years to come. It is thus, very important to conduct the research on integrated farming systems which would not only maximize the net earnings from limited plots of land but also produce adequate food to take care of nutritional requirement. Integrated farming is one such system in which earning can be maximized from limited land holdings.

This type of farming offers great efficiency in resource utilization, as waste or by product from one system is effectively recycled. It also enables effective utilization of available farming space for maximizing production. Fish culture in combination with agriculture or livestock is a unique and lucrative venture and provides a higher farm income, makes available cheap source of protein for the rural population, increase productivity on small land-holdings and increases the supply of feeds for the farm livestock.

The system thus provides meat, milk, eggs, fruits, vegetables, mushroom, fodder and grains, in addition to fish. Hence, provides better production, employment, and improves the socio-economic status of farmers.

Although rice-fish integration could find place over 20 million ha of lands so as to enhance land and water productivity, as of now, it is practiced only in 0.23 mha area. It is, therefore, need of the hour to expand the area under rice-fish integration. Establishment of the institute on integrated farming system would address the issue of rice-fish integration in diverse agro-climatic situations of India.

The alternatives that have been considered before firming up the design of the proposal may be stated. (This should also include alternate modes of proposal delivery, e.g. outsourcing PPP, etc. that have been considered).

It is new scheme in order to promote the integrated farming, particularly in the eastern region, which receives average rainfall of more than 1500 mm. The productive use of 15.26 mha of wetlands is also targeted through establishment of National Research Centre on Integrated Farming System. It is also envisaged that the proposed National Research Centre will develop strong linkages with national institutes and SAU’s operating in the different parts of the country for establishment of location specific integrated farming system models.

The organizational set up of the institute is depicted below:-