2021 GS3 Answer

Q. What are the present challenges before crop diversification? How do emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification?

Question from UPSC Mains 2021 GS3 Paper

Model Answer: 

Crop diversification is the practice of growing a variety of crops on a single piece of land to increase agricultural productivity and reduce risk. The practice helps to ensure sustainable agricultural production and improve the livelihood of farmers. However, crop diversification is facing several challenges in the present scenario. In this answer, we will discuss the present challenges before crop diversification and how emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification.

Present Challenges before Crop Diversification:

  • Monoculture: Monoculture, which is the practice of growing a single crop on a large scale, is prevalent in the agricultural sector. This practice leads to a lack of crop diversity and increases the vulnerability of crops to pests and diseases.
  • Dependence on traditional crops: Farmers in many regions of the world rely heavily on traditional crops that are well-suited to local environmental conditions but may not provide enough yield and income to support their livelihoods.
  • Lack of infrastructure: Lack of infrastructure such as transportation, storage, and processing facilities for non-traditional crops makes it difficult for farmers to diversify their crops and access new markets.
  • Climate change: Climate change has a significant impact on agricultural production and crop diversity. Extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and heatwaves, can affect crop yields and increase the risk of crop failure.
  • Limited access to information: Farmers may have limited access to information about the benefits of crop diversification and the opportunities available to them.

Emerging Technologies Provide an Opportunity for Crop Diversification:

  • Precision Agriculture: Precision agriculture technologies such as remote sensing, GPS, and drones can help farmers to monitor crop health and productivity, optimize water use and fertilizer application, and improve overall crop yield.
  • Gene Editing: Gene editing technologies can be used to develop new crop varieties that are resistant to pests and diseases, tolerate adverse environmental conditions, and provide better nutritional value.
  • Vertical Farming: Vertical farming, which involves the production of crops in a controlled environment, can enable farmers to grow a wide variety of crops, including non-traditional crops, throughout the year, regardless of weather conditions.
  • Blockchain: Blockchain technology can help to create a transparent and secure supply chain, enabling farmers to access new markets and increase their income by selling non-traditional crops.
  • Farm Management Software: Farm management software can help farmers to optimize their crop selection, plan for crop rotations, and manage their resources more efficiently, thus promoting crop diversification.


Crop diversification is essential for sustainable agricultural production and improving the livelihoods of farmers. However, there are several challenges that crop diversification faces in the present scenario. Emerging technologies provide an opportunity for crop diversification by enabling farmers to overcome these challenges and access new markets. With the help of these technologies, farmers can diversify their crops, improve their income and contribute to sustainable agricultural production.

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