Monocropping is the agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on the same land, in the absence of rotation through other crops or growing multiple crops on the same land, which is known as polyculture. When it comes to popular crops used for monocropping rice, wheat are common crops often grown using monocropping techniques.
The method of monocropping allows for farmers to have consistent crops throughout their entire farm. Then the farmers plant their most profitable crop only, using the same seed, pest control, machinery, and growing method on their entire farm, which may increase overall farm profitability.
Issues associated with monocropping
- When a farmer decides to plant the same crop in the same place each year, this method kills all the nutrients from the earth and leaves the soil weakened. Due to the weakness of the soil, it is then unable to support healthy plant growth. This causes a chain reaction of the soil structure and quality being so poor that farmers are forced to use chemical fertilizers to encourage plant growth and fruit production.
- The depletion of the nutrients in the soil, the use of pesticides on the crops, and the fact that not the entire crop is used for food are three major reasons why monocropping, while affordable for farmers, leads to environmental issues.
- Now with each season of monocropping, the surrounding land is even more reliant on the pesticides to fight off predators which in return puts more chemicals into the system. Another factor to consider when arguing that monocropping is problematic is how limiting farms to just one crop does not provide the diversity needed in our diets or to our ecosystem. In fact, according to Healthy Planet, 75 percent of the world’s crop varieties have been lost over the last century.
Potential of Agro forestry
Agroforestry is defined as a land use system which integrate trees and shrubs on farmlands and rural landscapes to enhance productivity, profitability, diversity and ecosystem sustainability. It is a dynamic, ecologically based, natural resource management system that, through integration of woody perennials on farms and in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production and builds social institutions.
Agroforestry systems are classified into three types:
- Agrisilvicultural systems, such as alley cropping or home gardens, are a mix of crops and trees.
- Silvopastoral systems combine forestry with domesticated animal feeding on pastures, rangelands, or on the farm.
- The three elements, namely trees, animals, and crops, can be combined into what are known as agrosilvopastoral systems, which are exemplified by home gardens with animals and distributed trees on croplands utilised for grazing after harvests.
- Agroforestry is essential for smallholder farmers and other rural residents because it may improve their food supply, income, and health.
- Agroforestry systems are multifunctional systems that can give several economic, socioeconomic, and environmental benefits.
- Agroforestry generates food, fuel, and fibre, helps to maintain livelihoods, prevents deforestation, improves biodiversity, preserves water resources, and lowers erosion.
- With land holding sizes falling, the only option to maximise agricultural output is to combine tree farming with agriculture.
- Agroforestry refers to the incorporation of trees into farming systems. It is a type of primitive and tribal agriculture that incorporates indigenous technological expertise.
- Agroforestry balances the ecological and economic interactions of biotic and abiotic components to maximise resource use.
- For food and nutritional security, agroforestry can provide food, feed, fruits, fibre, fuel, fodder, fish, flavour, aroma, floss, gum, resins, and other non-wood goods. It can also help to sustain livelihoods and foster productive, resilient agricultural settings.
- Multifunctional enhanced fallows, home gardens, plantation crop-based mixed-species production systems, alley cropping, woodlots, windbreaks, protein banks, shifting cultivation, and Taungya are all important agroforestry strategies in India.
- Agroforestry improves biodiversity by providing different habitat for macro and microorganisms, as well as preserving landforms for future generations.
- It combines traditional crops with commercial crops such as grains, oilseeds, pulses, vegetables, and fruits in agri-horticulture, horti-silviculture, silvolericulture, silvo-floriculture, silvi-medicinal, agri-hortisilviculture, aqua-forestry, silvi-pasture, and horti-pasture.
- Trees improve farming system resilience and decrease negative externalities. As a result, it encourages crop diversification.
- Over 80% of farmers in India are tiny landholders with less than two hectares of land and 60% of cultivated land; they rely on rain for irrigation. These rainfed fields are under stress due to a lack of guaranteed irrigation and a lack of biodiversity. Agroforestry is viewed as a solution to their food, nutrition, energy, job, and environmental security issues.
- Agroforestry is also considered as a strategy of reducing rural unemployment, with farm wood production now yielding 450 job days per hectare per year in India.
- The benefits of agroforestry in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation are also key driving reasons behind the strategy.
National Agroforestry Policy:
- Encourage the use of agroforestry to boost agricultural revenue and the livelihoods of rural people, particularly small and marginal farmers.
- To reduce the danger of extreme weather events, protect and stabilise ecosystems, and develop resilient agricultural and farming systems.
- Provide raw materials to wood-based businesses at the same time. As a result, new avenues for rural employment are created, and pressure on the woods is reduced.
- To build capacity and improve research in agroforestry, as well as to mobilise a broad people’s movement to achieve these goals.
There is a pressing need to implement modified cropping systems, agroforestry, and integrated cropping patterns in conjunction with changing agronomical practises. It will aid in climate change adaptation and promote sustainable agriculture to assist small and marginal farmers. There is a need to develop an integrated farming system that encourages agri-production diversification with other connected secondary and tertiary agricultural activities.
How to structure
- Give an intro about mono cropping and draw a map
- Discuss the issues associated with it
- Explain about agro forestry and suggest whether it can be a solution to the problems associated with mono cropping. Then proceed to say the challenges faced with agro forestry
- Suggest way forward and Conclude