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School of Social Sciences

5. Achievements of Various Project Directorates/Divisions/Units

5.5 School of Social Sciences

compared to wheat crop which was also evidenced through delta C-13 signatures, i.e.,

13C values in mustard stover at harvest showed a positive linear relationship with consumptive water use efficiency, seed yield and total N uptake. The use of 15N stem injection technique for evaluation of below-ground nitrogen (BGN) in soybean and wheat showed that contribution of leguminous crops to the N economies of cropping systems has been largely underestimated and the effort to increase fertilizer use efficiency in cereals should also take into account the below-ground nitrogen requirement. In rice, the fertilizer N use efficiency by using 15N showed an increase of nearly 8.3%

under raised bed conditions from 37.4% obtained under flat bed condition. The transfer factor of 137Cs in rice grain and straw reduced by half from that was a year before and the application of potassium fertilizer at 150 kg ha-l reduced it further. The transfer factor of 137Cs in mustard was found to be nearly three times higher compared to wheat and maize after nine years of radionuclide contamination indicating mustard to be a hyper accumulator of 137Cs. Measurements of soil organic matter dynamics in intensive cropping systems showed higher carbon management index in the plots under conventional puddling of rice in rice-wheat and bed planting in maize-wheat system.

5.5 School of Social Sciences

revealed that the extension managers needed training in the critical areas of managerial skills. The training modules were developed and validated which resulted in significant improvements in the knowledge and skill levels of the respondents in different areas of management. Expert system of extension (Web-based) was developed to disseminate demand driven information to the farmers. Information relating to the selected crops/

technology was collected and entered into the database, and was uplinked on the IARI server. Sixty per cent of the farmers experienced an increase in crop yields but steady decline in net profit. Increased soil salinity conditions were reported. The modernization had positive effect in terms of better education, increased material possessions, better communication, health and housing facilities.

Division of Agricultural Economics

Research focus was on major issues of national importance, particularly, agricultural sustainability, food supply and demand projections, diversification, input use efficiency, export potential and trade liberalization. Diversification in Indian agriculture is prominent in rainfed resource starved regions for risk mitigation; in resource endowed regions, it is minimal and directed towards high value crops for increased earnings. The pulling factors for diversification are the availability of suitable cultivars and quality seeds, post harvest handling and processing facilities, efficient marketing services, and stable and remunerative product prices. The support required for promoting sustainable development in secondary crops was identified in the areas of crop improvement, crop management, and resource management (technological); technology dissemination, value addition and processing, and market services (socio-economic); contract farming, cooperatives, and group action (linkages and group action); price and non-price incentives (marketing and trade); and focused infrastructure development in fragile areas (infrastructure). Total factor productivity (TFP) indices by districts/regions of the Indo- Gangetic plains indicated that productivity alone contributed one-third to the total output growth in the IGP. However, the productivity growth attained in 1980s was not sustained in 1990s which poses a challenge for researchers. Investment in research, extension, education and infrastructure were identified as the major sources of TFP growth in the IGP. Ecological problems that have emerged in a large number of districts in the IGP may aggravate in future if proper soil management practices are not undertaken.

Economic losses due to degradation of land in Punjab were estimated at Rs. 4841 million per annum. For the 17 major states of the country taken together, the losses were estimated at Rs 285 billion annually (Rs 1521 per hectare). Such a high magnitude of losses due to degradation of soils has adverse implications for sustainability of agriculture in the country.

Households were observed to diversify their food consumption pattern by shifting towards high-value and high-quality food items as incomes rose. Shifts in dietary pattern were significant even among the bottom income group. Cereals continue to be major sources of calories and non-cereals like pulses, edible oils, horticultural products, and animal and fishery products were major providers of proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. However, a temporal decline in calorie intake from cereals was observed which may be attributed to a decrease in cereal consumption that was compensated by a marked increase in the intake of calories from high value products (milk, vegetables, fruits, meat, and sugar).

An analysis of technological change and production performance in maize-based agro-eco system showed that despite considerable extension efforts, nearly 50 per cent area continues to be under traditional maize technologies. Around 54 per cent of farmers were low adopters of technology on account of high costs of inputs and marketing constraints. Excluding Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, farmers in different states have not adopted the recommended package of practices. Lack of institutional support and inadequate infrastructure has hindered the adoption of new technologies in maize which calls for greater extension efforts to generate awareness and to disseminate information on recommended technologies.

Research on pesticide use and sustainability of agriculture showed that the high intensity of pesticide use was coupled with widespread use of high-risk pesticides.

Adoption of IPM practices had reduced the quantity of pesticides use without adversely affecting the yields in paddy, vegetables and cotton leading to a reduction in their unit cost of production. The major constraints for low adoption of biological control were found to be their slow action against target pests, short shelf life and survival of bio- agents in field, high prices and irregular supply. IPM technologies demonstrated a potential of avoiding pesticide risk hazards by 20-30 per cent in paddy, 39 to 46 per cent in vegetables and 32 to 40 per cent in cotton. Farmers were willing to pay a price premium of up to 22 per cent for environmentally safer formulations of pesticides.

Quantification of the impact of inadequate market information among horticultural producers and traders revealed that value loss on account of this ranged from 16-22 per cent to growers and 10-12 per cent to traders. The adverse impact of lack of market information is severe in North East region and Orissa and moderate in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Producers and traders desire critical decision making information such as price and arrival forecasts, alternative markets, quality and grades, processing facilities, and export prices.

Farm Operation Service Unit (FOSU)

As per the mandate, the FOSU was involved, during the period, in the following activities:

The unit has 37 tractors, 3 plot combines, a precision space planter, 2 self-propelled plot seed drill and their matching implements. With the help of these machines, time- bound farm operations were done by FOSU on IARI farm and met the requirements of scientists. Irrigation water distribution system comprising two storage reservoirs of 5 acres feet capacity each and more than 15 kilometers of underground RCC pipe water distribution lines both connected to 18 deep tube wells, has to be kept strengthened.

For the upkeep, repair and maintenance of the above machinery and farm equipment, FOSU has a full-fledged workshop comprising a machine shop, a repairs shop, a welding and electrical section, a car washer and an air compressor. Around 6-8 engines and equal number of gearboxes are overhauled every year, and daily servicing, greasing and periodic maintenance has been done regularly.

The QRT’s assessment is that IARI water distribution system is not efficient. It is recommended that the entire farm of IARI should be under a most efficient irrigation system to maximize water use efficiency. Flood irrigation is outdated and needs to be replaced with drip, sprinkler and sensor controlled irrigation system.