Prelims 2020

Q. In the context of India, which of the following is/are considered to be practice(s) of eco-friendly agriculture?

1.Crop diversification
2.Legume intensification
3.Tensiometer use
4.Vertical farming

Select the correct answer using the code given below:
a) 1, 2 and 3 only
b) 3 only
c) 4 only
d) 1, 2, 3 and 4
Correct Answer : a) 1, 2 and 3 only

Question from UPSC Prelims 2020 GS Paper


Official UPSC Answer: a) 1, 2 and 3 only

1. Crop Diversification:

This involves growing a variety of crops in a given area in order to reduce the risk of crop failure, improve soil health, and reduce pest and disease incidence. It’s a sustainable agricultural practice that helps in maintaining the balance of the ecosystem, thereby being eco-friendly.

2. Legume Intensification:

Legumes are known for their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, thanks to the symbiotic relationship they have with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This natural process reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which are energy-intensive to produce and can cause environmental pollution. Intensifying legume production can improve soil fertility naturally and reduce dependency on chemical fertilizers, making it an eco-friendly practice.

3. Tensiometer Use:

A tensiometer is a device used to measure the moisture content in the soil, ensuring that crops are irrigated optimally. Over-irrigation leads to water wastage and can leach nutrients away from the root zone, causing pollution and reducing water quality. Under-irrigation stresses plants and can reduce yields. By using tensiometers, farmers can apply water more efficiently, conserving water resources and ensuring that crops receive the right amount of water at the right time. This practice supports sustainable water management, which is crucial for eco-friendly agriculture.

4. Vertical Farming:

This innovative farming method involves growing crops in vertically stacked layers, often incorporating controlled-environment agriculture, which optimizes plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aeroponics, or aquaponics. Vertical farming can significantly reduce land use, water use, and fertilizer and pesticide application rates. It can also contribute to reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional farming and transportation of food products. By maximizing space and resources, vertical farming is considered an eco-friendly agricultural practice, especially in urban areas where space is limited.

Therefore, all these practices contribute to sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture by optimizing resource use, reducing environmental impact, and promoting biodiversity, making option d) the correct answer but official answer is a).

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