Integrated farming system (IFS) is the scientific integration of interdependent farm activities such as crops, livestock, fish, poultry, honey bee, agro forestry for the efficient use of inputs and higher productivity. It is based on the concept that waste from one component becomes an input for another part of the system.
- The Indian agriculture is dominated by small and marginal farmers who account for 86% of farmers and own 48% of agricultural land. The IFS can enable these farmers to break out of the vicious cycle. Reduce Input cost through efficient utilisation of wastes.
- Crop residues can be used as animal feed and hence avoid fodder crisis.
- Animal excreta can also utilized as organic fertilizers.
- Biogas production can meet household energy requirement and hence reduce energy crisis.
- Enhanced productivity through efficient utilisation of fragmented land holdings. It can lead to agricultural diversification and intensification of crop and allied enterprises.
- Promotes environmental sustainability
- Reduced need for chemical fertiliser
- Minimise use of insecticides and pesticides through integrated pest management.
- Improved soil fertility through crop rotation and organic fertilisers.
- Recycling of wastes for production helps to avoid piling of wastes and consequent pollution.
- Stable and regular income throughout the year due to integration of different allied activities such as crops, milk, eggs, honey etc.
- Adoption of Technology: Increased income level may incentivise farmers to adopt modern technologies and mechanisation.
- Boost Secondary agriculture leading to higher value addition and increased income levels.
Hence, IFS would help us achieve multi-faceted objectives – doubling farmers’ income, ensure food security and promote environmental sustainability. Going forward, National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture should be implemented efficiently to address challenges such as lack of awareness, lack of credit, poor adoption of technology etc.