Gist of Kurukshetra March 2024 Issue: Profitable Farming

Kurukshetra Magazine is a vital source of study material for the UPSC IAS exam. It is a monthly magazine that gives information about important government schemes and programmes in various sectors. Kurukshetra is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Kurukshetra, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

Gist of Kurukshetra March 2024
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1. Adoption of Digital and Innovative Farming Techniques
2. Bamboo Farming - Growing Methods and Reaping Benefits
3. Apiculture Scope and Opportunities in India
4. Organic Farming in India: Benefits, Status, and Future Prospects
5. Vertical Farming and Hydroponics: Future of Urban Agriculture

1. Adoption of Digital and Innovative Farming Techniques


  • Digitalisation plays a crucial role in enhancing competitiveness and achieving self-sustainability in Indian agriculture.
  • The emergence of Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) presents an opportunity for digital agriculture to cover the entire agricultural value chain, from cultivation to post-harvest handling and value addition.

Digital Agricultural Revolution:

  • The digital agricultural revolution aims to address challenges in agriculture caused by a growing population and limited natural resources.
  • Digital agriculture has the potential to increase efficiency, productivity, profitability, and sustainability while promoting economic benefits and societal inclusion.

India’s Agricultural Landscape:

  • India ranks among the top producers of various agricultural commodities but faces challenges like small land holdings and insufficient revenue for farmers.
  • Digital technology offers solutions to increase overall efficiency and revenue through innovative farming practices.

Innovative Farming Practices:

  • Precision Agriculture: Utilizes GPS, sensors, drones, and data analytics to optimize resource utilization and improve efficiency.
  • Smart Farming: Combines IoT devices and connectivity to create networked and automated agricultural ecosystems.
  • Vertical Farming and Controlled-Environment Agriculture: Maximizes land use efficiency and minimizes environmental impact through stacked layers and regulated conditions.
  • Blockchain Technology in Agriculture: Enhances transparency and traceability throughout the supply chain, ensuring authenticity and quality.

Digital Farming Techniques:

  • Technologies in Precision Agriculture: Utilize GPS, sensors, and IoT devices for real-time monitoring and management.
  • Drones: Provide high-resolution imagery for crop monitoring and problem detection.
  • Automated Technology: Enables precision operations such as planting and harvesting with reduced labour.
  • Smart Irrigation System: Utilizes soil moisture sensors for efficient water management.
  • Data-driven Farm Management: Employs software programs to integrate and analyze multiple data sources for informed decision-making.
  • Robots for Agricultural Operations: Automates tasks like harvesting and weed control for increased efficiency.
  • Machine Learning: Predicts crop yields, disease outbreaks, and market trends for proactive decision-making.
  • Blockchain: Ensures transparency and traceability in agricultural supply chains.
  • Digital Twins: Create virtual replicas of farms for simulation and optimization.

Application and Adoption of Digital Agriculture Technologies:

  • Startups are contributing to the increase in farm mechanization and the adoption of digital extension services.
  • Technologies like drones, IoT devices, and blockchain are being used for crop monitoring, input management, and supply chain traceability.
  • Initiatives like digital equipment rental platforms, mobile-based advisory services, and quality assessment tools are enhancing productivity and market access for farmers.

Digital Divide:

  • Disparities in access, connectivity, and technological literacy pose challenges to the equitable adoption of digital agriculture.
  • Bridging the digital divide requires efforts to enhance digital literacy, provide affordable access to technology, and implement supportive policies.

Conditions for Digital Transformation:

  • Availability, connectivity, affordability, and ICT integration are fundamental conditions for technology utilization.
  • Enabling conditions such as widespread internet use, digital skills, and innovation support contribute to smoother technology adoption.

Way Forward:

  • India’s National AI Strategy and initiatives like Agriculture 4.0 aim to unlock the economic and societal advantages of digital technology in agriculture.
  • The establishment and promotion of FPOs present an opportunity to accelerate the adoption of digital agriculture and address challenges in the agricultural sector.


  • Digital farming practices represent a significant turning point in agriculture, offering solutions to increase productivity, sustainability, and efficiency.
  • Through innovative techniques and technologies, farmers can meet the demands of a growing population while minimizing environmental impact.
  • The establishment of FPOs and the adoption of digital agriculture present opportunities for inclusive growth and sustainable development in Indian agriculture.

2. Bamboo Farming – Growing Methods and Reaping Benefits


  • Bamboo farming is gaining popularity among farmers and professionals.
  • It offers environmental benefits and diverse uses, attracting progressive farmers.

Climate Requirement

  • Bamboo thrives in various climates and soil types.
  • Ideal conditions include temperatures between 7°C and 40°C and annual rainfall of 1200 mm to 4000 mm.
  • Well-drained soil with pH 5.0 to 6.5 is optimal, with high nitrogen content enhancing growth.

Site Selection and Preparation

  • Bamboo can grow in diverse landscapes, from valleys to hillsides.
  • Choosing suitable locations with market potential, good access, and adequate water is crucial.
  • Land preparation involves clearing, tilling, and creating fire breaks and fencing for protection.


  • Adequate irrigation, especially in dry periods, is essential for optimal bamboo growth.
  • Drip irrigation systems and water conservation methods are recommended.

Manuring and Fertilisation

  • Bamboo requires nutrient-rich soil, and fertilisers with potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen are vital.
  • Proper fertilisation schedules based on soil testing and analysis ensure high-quality yield.


  • Mulching suppresses weeds, retains moisture, and enhances soil fertility.
  • Organic mulch materials like leaf litter promote healthy bamboo growth.

Soil Mounding

  • Soil mounding prevents rhizome exposure and promotes healthy growth.
  • Sympodial bamboo varieties need to maintain soil cover.

Bamboo Pests and Control

  • Regular weeding and soil management are necessary to control pests and weeds.
  • Pruning and thinning promote airflow and facilitate harvesting.

Harvesting and Yield of Bamboo

  • Harvest mature bamboo culms during the dry season.
  • Proper harvesting techniques ensure sustained growth and yield.
  • Harvesting for timber and consumable stems requires different approaches.

Bamboo Use

  • Bamboo finds applications in fabric, medicine, utensils, and musical instruments.
  • Its eco-friendly nature and versatile properties make it a popular choice for various products.

Economic Contribution of Bamboo to India

  • Bamboo holds a significant market share in industrial goods, with a growing contribution to India’s economy.
  • Industrial bamboo products dominate sectors like flooring, pulp, paper, and plywood, with the Asia-Pacific region leading in revenue.


  • Bamboo farming offers a sustainable and lucrative opportunity for farmers.
  • Proper cultivation techniques, including site selection, irrigation, and pest control, are essential for success.
  • Bamboo’s versatility and economic potential make it a promising crop for India’s agricultural sector.

3. Apiculture Scope and Opportunities in India


  • India is one of the largest producers and consumers of honey globally, with an estimated annual production of 1.2 lakh metric tonnes.
  • Beekeeping has a rich tradition in India dating back to ancient times and offers significant income and employment opportunities, especially for rural households.

Importance of Apiculture:

  • Apiculture contributes to the production of various outputs such as honey, beeswax, queen bees, and bee colonies.
  • Bees, including wild pollinators, play a crucial role in biodiversity maintenance, agricultural production, forest regeneration, and climate change adaptation.
  • It requires less land and initial capital, provides nutrition, economic security, and ecological benefits, and can be pursued by individuals of all ages and genders.

History of Beekeeping in India:

  • India hosts four major honey bee species, with Apis cerana and Apis mellifera being the dominant species cultivated by beekeepers.
  • The introduction of Apis mellifera in the 20th century helped revive the beekeeping industry after the outbreak of diseases affecting native bee species.
  • Different species contribute varying proportions to the total honey production in India.

Government Initiatives:

  • The National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM), part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat scheme, aims to promote scientific beekeeping for income generation, employment, and agricultural enhancement.
  • NBHM focuses on infrastructure development, awareness creation, post-harvest management, research, and technology generation in beekeeping.

Current Status and Market Trends:

  • India currently has millions of honey bee colonies and beekeepers contributing to honey production valued at over Rs. 2704.31 crore.
  • The country is a major honey exporter, with significant demand from countries like the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Canada.
  • Market projections suggest a positive growth trajectory for the apiculture industry, driven by increasing domestic and international demand.

Challenges and Solutions:

  • Challenges such as inadequate marketing facilities, beekeeping equipment availability, and lack of training in apiary management hinder industry growth.
  • Strengthening beekeeping cooperatives, establishing nationwide bee businesses, and providing instruction in apiary management are proposed solutions.

Prospects and Opportunities:

  • India’s geographical and genetic diversity provides vast potential for expanding beekeeping activities.
  • Bee pollination can significantly enhance agricultural productivity, aligning with the country’s agrarian economy.
  • Rising domestic and international demand, coupled with government support and market trends, presents lucrative opportunities for beekeeping entrepreneurs.

Diverse Product Portfolio:

  • Apart from honey, beekeeping yields various commercially important by-products like royal jelly, beeswax, propolis, bee venom, and pollen.
  • These products find applications in food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and other industries, contributing to the sector’s economic viability.


  • Beekeeping in India offers a promising avenue for income generation, employment creation, and agricultural enhancement.
  • Government initiatives, market trends, and geographical diversity contribute to the sector’s growth potential.
  • By addressing challenges, leveraging opportunities, and promoting sustainable practices, beekeeping can emerge as a thriving industry supporting rural livelihoods and environmental conservation.

Overall, the apiculture sector in India presents a sweet revolution with vast potential for economic prosperity and ecological sustainability.

4. Organic Farming in India: Benefits, Status, and Future Prospects


  • Organic farming is gaining momentum as a sustainable agricultural practice.
  • Offers benefits for the environment, health, and economy.

Organic Farming Defined

  • Avoids synthetic pesticides, fertilisers, and GMOs.
  • Relies on natural inputs like vermicompost and green manure.
  • Embraces eco-friendly pest and disease control methods.

Need and Benefits

  • Promotes biodiversity, soil health, and water conservation.
  • Economic sustainability for farmers, better market access.
  • Healthier, safer food options for consumers.
  • Aligns with environmental conservation goals.

Status of Organic Farming

  • Historical foundation in traditional agricultural practices.
  • National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) since 2001.
  • The area under organic certification is growing, with 101.72 lakh hectares registered.
  • India has the highest number of organic farmers globally.

Organic Production

  • Diverse agro-climatic conditions are conducive to organic farming.
  • India produced 2,972.39 thousand metric tonnes of organic products in 2022-23.
  • Wide range of organic crops cultivated across states.

Exports of Organic Products

  • India is a key player in meeting global demand for organic products.
  • Impressive export volume of 312,800.51 metric tonnes in 2022-23.
  • Export revenue is around Rs. 5,525.18 crore (USD 708.33 million).
  • Organic exports are expected to grow to USD 2,601 million by 2026.



  • Limited awareness among farmers and high certification costs.
  • Initial yield decreases during the transition to organic farming.
  • Issues with pests and disease management.
  • Quality control, certification, and market infrastructure challenges.

Way Forward

  • Increase research and development for better farming techniques.
  • Integrate technology for precision farming, and data analytics.
  • Strengthen policy support, and provide financial incentives.
  • Encourage collaboration among stakeholders for collective marketing efforts.
  • Educate consumers about the benefits of organic produce.


  • India is poised to emerge as a global leader in organic farming.
  • Addressing challenges and seizing opportunities crucial for sustainable agricultural practices.

5. Vertical Farming and Hydroponics: Future of Urban Agriculture


  • Vertical farming and hydroponics offer efficient and sustainable solutions to urban agriculture challenges.
  • Maximize resource use, enable year-round crop production, and increase yields.

Rising Demand and Challenges

  • Growing global population, diminishing farmlands, declining soil fertility, and increasing urbanization drive the need for advanced farming methods.
  • Limited agricultural land necessitates the exploration of innovative food production technologies like vertical and hydroponic farming.

Market Projection and Importance

  • The global population is expected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, with 70% living in cities.
  • The vertical farming market is projected to reach USD 33.02 billion by 2030.
  • Hydroponics and vertical farming are crucial for future food security and nutrition, particularly in urban areas.

Understanding Vertical Farming and Hydroponics

  • Vertical farming revolutionizes traditional agriculture by employing soilless cultivation in a multi-level, protected indoor environment.
  • Hydroponics nurtures plants in nutrient-rich water solutions instead of soil, fostering quicker and more efficient growth.
  • Various shapes and sizes of vertical farms worldwide employ hydroponic systems, including Deep Water Culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), and Aeroponics.

Crop Management in Hydroponics

  • Plants thrive in slightly acidic conditions with a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5.
  • Essential to maintain optimal temperature, oxygen levels, and nutrient solution strength.
  • Crop selection and management are crucial for maximizing productivity.

Suitable Crops and Examples

  • Commercial crops grown under vertical farming and hydroponics include leafy greens, herbs, and strawberries.
  • Institutions like ICAR-CISH, Lucknow, and ICAR-IIHR, Bengaluru, pioneer research and standardization efforts.
  • Hydroponic companies in India include Nutrifresh and Akarshak Hydroponics.

Advantages of Vertical Farming and Hydroponics

  • Utilize 99% less land compared to traditional farming.
  • Require less water and protect crops from pests and adverse weather conditions.
  • Enable year-round cultivation and access to fresh produce in urban areas.
  • Enhance plant productivity per unit area and enable automation for optimal growth conditions.

Disadvantages and Challenges

  • High upfront infrastructure costs and energy-intensive operations.
  • Require expertise and continuous maintenance.
  • Limited crop variety and potential issues with pollination in controlled environments.

Way Forward

  • Utilize affordable infrastructure options like shipping containers and abandoned warehouses.
  • Collaborative research and supportive policies can encourage investment and promote adoption.
  • Hydroponics and vertical farming hold immense potential for sustainable urban agriculture with further acceptance and support.


  • Vertical farming and hydroponics offer promising solutions to urban agriculture challenges, maximizing resource efficiency and promoting sustainability.
  • Despite challenges, ongoing research and policy support can facilitate widespread adoption, ensuring a resilient and food-secure future.
Related Links
Skill India Mission PM PRANAM
Green Finance Digital India
National Action Plan on Climate Change World Bank


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