Science and Agriculture

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The most important factor in any planning for India's development and economic uplift is that of turning a hungry, discontented people into a happy, well-fed one. Food can be had either by import or by production at home.

India must produce her own food. The problem, therefore, reduces itself to one of agricultural improvement. We must grow more food. The scientist has other methods. The chemist, the biologist, the engineer and even the physicist, have a great role to play in applying science to large-scale production, and they must be given due scope for carrying on experiments and researches.

The first step to be taken is to increase the fertility of the soil, to ensure a higher yield of crops per acre. Old farmers relied upon easily available manure like cow dung. He must be taught to realize that chemical fertilisers can improve the productivity of land to an undreamt of extent. The proportion of organic and inorganic manures depends upon the nature of the soil.

The next step is to improve the quality of the seed. The supply of good seeds is by far the most vital problem. Plant breeding is not only an art; it is a highly specialized science. Fortunately, at many agricultural farms, especially in Hyderabad, this is being done successfully. The scientist will help us to raise needs fit for a local environment. It is reported that in former Soviet Union hybridization method was adopted with great success.

Improved methods of cultivation must also be introduced. Japanese method of rice cultivation has yielded splendid results, wherever applied. In Europe, the production per acre is much higher than in our country. So high yielding strains should be used and double harvesting is to be ensured every year.

Science can help agriculture in another way by fighting down the insects and bacterial pests that destroy considerable quantities of grains and crops. Plants are liable to be attacked by these pests at all times. Faulty methods of storing food also are responsible for much avoidable loss. If we want to increase our food supply, not only should production be improved but wastage also must be eliminated by improved methods of farming and preserving surplus food grains.

Science can supplement agriculture by creating other sources of supply. In Europe, seaweed, hitherto considered as a waste product, is being used for fodder. In Russia and Israel, desert land is being treated to produce fodder and crops. All this leaves a surplus of land for the cultivation of crops. Chemical methods of producing artificial food for human beings can also be resorted to. Also waste lands are to be reclaimed along with fallow plots for tillage.

Thus science can be made a valuable any of agriculture. New research centres must be opened all over the country. The foundation of agricultural universities is a good beginning; for it is from the universities that research experts will spread out to other parts of our big country.

It is a happy sign and matter of pride that India today is self sufficient in food. As a matter of fact, due to scrupulous planning India now produces 20 crore tons of food crops in a year, maintaining a sufficient buffer stock. India in now in a position to export food grains. 1. Science has completely revolutionized the methods and techniques of agriculture.

2. Manual labor has been completely replaced by machines.

3. Science has provided much better facilities for irrigation.

4. The use of chemical manures has greatly increased the fertility of the soil.

5. Scientific research has helped in the improvement of the quality of seeds.

6. Science has helped in fighting down the insect pests that destroy the crops.

7. Even nuclear research is proving very useful for agriculture.

This is an age of science. There is hardly anything in life which has not been affected by science. It is all-pervasive. Life today is governed and conditioned by off-shoots of science, and it is very...
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