Research Demand Projections
Globalization and consequent liberalization harbingers structural transformation in economy that is likely to have indelible repercussions on the people engaged in agriculture thereby demanding precise location specific but targeting global market agricultural planning quite in consonance to the natural resources of the area. Thus, for appropriate exploitation of the open market, it is important to find efficient measures to obstruct current and emerging problems that bog down agricultural growth in the area. The agricultural situations in North Gujarat are generally hemmed in capricious rainfall; high temperature and limited least growth period (LGP) that frequently culminate in scarcity conditions especially in less endowed areas like Kachchh. The State faces severe scarcity of water availability, though irrigated farming has picked up over time. North Gujarat is stigmatic of negative fallouts of the over drawl of the ground water with many talukas having approached critical level of over 1000 feet depth. There hardly needs any emphasis on the water management for enhancing agricultural productivity and reducing cost of production as nearly half of the cost of production is incurred on water application. Thus, the perspective research and agricultural planning has to be focused precisely on these yield limiting factors with maximum emphasis on niche crops like seed spices, castor, cotton, arid fruits and such other crops that have both local adaptability and export potentials. It becomes a social responsibility of the university to concentrate in crops like pulses and oil seeds that are especially suited to arid areas but are scarce and required to eradicate malnutrition. Focused and pinpointed research initiatives are desired in conserving natural resources inclusive soil and water for sustenance of agriculture in the area.
The poor productivity of the area has the genesis of scarce water and poor nutrition available in the fatigued soils. There are yawning gaps between the actual yield at the farmers’ field and attainable yield in front line demonstrations. Poor quality seeds, poor management, biotic and abiotic stress are the four dimensions of this voluminous problem. Defensive rather than offensive measures are required to control biotic problems so as to make the environment pollution free and healthy. Narrow genetic base delineates the absolute yield marked by the genetic potential particularly in pulses and oilseeds. The area has vast reservoirs of animals, plants and marine biodiversity and only limited efforts have been made to conserve and utilize these invaluable resources.
The enhanced per capita income has blatantly impacted the consumption pattern in favour fruits, vegetable and value added food /finished products. Seed spices, pulses, cotton, castor, arid vegetable and arid fruits are amenable to value addition and can satiate both domestic and export market. The university can exploit these opportunities for the benefit of the farming community.
The area of SDAU jurisdiction is hemmed in arid and semi-arid climate that has many perennial problems mainly ascribable to capricious quantum and distribution of rainfall. The underground water is exploited to the utmost and four of the six districts (Mehsana, Patan, Banaskantha and Gandhinagar) fall in dark zone while the other two (Sabarkantha and Kachchh) are in grey zone. Therefore, the water is scarcer and dearer besides requiring lot of energy for pumping. Soil and water are the two prime but restricted natural ingredients to realize attainable yields under arid conditions. Enhancing capacity building of underground water and enhancing efficiency of scarcer and costlier inputs like water would not only save electricity but also extend the accumulated saving of scarcer resources to other needy areas for agricultural use.
Consequent upon lesser “Least Growth Period” of around 100 days, it is important that the available resources in general and the time is managed and deployed more judiciously as per growth and development needs of the crop. For this Resource Conservation Technologies have been found to be significant in crops like wheat. The same has a larger potential in crops like spices where both water and time plays crucial role. Further, RCTs can also play pivotal role in resuscitating ailing soil health by squeezing short duration pulses like cowpea in between two major crops. And of course, the energy budgeting and energy dynamics need no mention here.
Arid areas are notorious for supporting less vegetative covers due to hostile climatic conditions that triggers cyclic degradation actions. The area also has specific problems like high temperatures, winds, saline soil and above all limited resources. Therefore, the attention is focused on niche field and fruit crops like castor, pulses, spices, mustard, potato, date palm and such other crops. Similarly, appropriate research in arid horticulture will not only provides nutritious fruits but also vegetation cover, shade and ever-scarce nutritious fodder for sheep, goats and camels under harsh conditions
The area is inflicted with socio-economic and severe crunch of resources. Recently the irrigation facilities are slated due to very ambitious irrigation projects. Therefore, the entire crop research has been reoriented to address the crop production as per availability of the resources and socio-economic status of the farmers.
The resources in general and water in particular under arid climate are predominantly constrained culminating in frequent crop failures. Therefore, importance of mixed farming cannot be over emphasized to assure income round the year.
The agriculture as an occupation is quite monotonous and arduous under arid and semi arid conditions. Rural agricultural engineering envisages making it engrossing and lively by new innovations and application of technology/tools
The importance of renewable and ecological advantageous alternatives to conventional fossil fuels needs no highlighting in this era of all pervasive environmental pollution. The university has given priority to TBOs in general and Jatropha and Simmarouba in particular. At present an high oil content variety SDAUJ-1 (Chattrapati) has lot of indent from all over the country. The seed production of such TBOs would be of national interests.
The energy is getting scarcer and costlier day by day. Therefore, energy budgeting and dynamics have been made mandatory in all the research pursuits.
The niche crops of the area like castor, cumin, fennel, Isabgol, date palm, pulses, guar and potato have special opportunities for value addition to make them market friendly and export oriented. Such crops are precisely focused to bridle nagging problems followed by value addition.
The local germplasm found in arid areas is peculiar, noble, distinct and exhibits lot of genetic variability in color, size, shape, productivity and quality. The maintenance and preservation of such biodiversity is of global significance. Date palm, spices, wild melon, amaranthus, arid tree plants, TBOs etc. have been specifically focused. The efforts are significant from production sustenance and enhancement under harsh environments besides lot of export potentials. Similarly, animal species found in difficult areas like Banni in Kachchh have special attributes of low maintenance and high productivity are also targeted. Local Kankrej cows, Kachchhi camel and dual-purpose goat breeds Kachchhi, Sirohi and Mehsana evince special stability of performance under difficult condition with some of them like Kachchhi camel and goat have special forte for nomadic culture