NMSA Scheme: National Mission For Sustainable Agriculture for NABARD Grade A Exam

By Jyoti Bisht|Updated : July 11th, 2022

Today we will be discussing all NMSA and its major components like Rainfed Area development Soil health management etc. This is an important concept to understand for the NABARD Grade A Exam for scoring marks. The quality and accessibility of natural resources like soil and water are essential for maintaining agricultural output.

By encouraging conservation and sustainable use of these limited natural resources through appropriate site-specific methods, agricultural expansion can be maintained. About 60% of India's net sown land is still devoted to rainfed agriculture, which also supplies 40% of the nation's overall food production.

Strategy National Mission For Sustainable Agriculture

In order to provide livelihood possibilities, ensure food security, and reduce the risk of crop failure through supplementary/ residual production systems, an integrated farming system that includes crops, livestock, fishery, plantations, and pasture-based composite farming is being promoted.

  • Establishing practices that will support mitigation efforts during times of extreme climatic events or disasters such as extended dry spells, floods, etc. through popularizing resource conservation technology (both on- and off-farm).
  • Promoting better agronomic techniques for increased farm output, better soil treatment, increased water holding capacity, wise chemical/energy usage, and improved soil carbon storage.
  • To make it easier to adopt site- and soil-specific crop management strategies and to maximize fertilizer use, a database on soil resources is being created using land use survey, soil profile study, and soil analysis on a GIS platform.
  • Establishing climate change adaptation and mitigation solutions for specific agro-climatic settings with knowledge institutions and professionals, and promoting these techniques through suitable agricultural systems.

What Are the Objectives of NMSA?  

By encouraging site-specific Integrated/Composite Farming Systems, to increase agriculture's productivity, sustainability, income, and resiliency to climate change. To protect natural resources by taking suitable measures to protect soil and moisture.

  • Adopting complete soil health management strategies based on soil fertility maps, applying macro-and micronutrients based on soil tests, using fertilizers wisely, etc.
  • To increase coverage for "more crop per drop" by maximizing the use of water resources through effective water management.
  • To build the capacity of farmers and stakeholders in the area of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures, in conjunction with other ongoing Missions such as the National Mission on Agriculture Extension & Technology, National Food Security Mission, and National Initiative for Climate Resilient Agriculture (NICRA), etc.
  • To develop efficient departmental and ministerial coordination in order to carry out the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture's core objectives within the auspices of the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC).

National Mission For Sustainable Agriculture

  • Sustaining agricultural productivity depends on the quality and availability of natural resources like soil and water. Agricultural growth can be sustained by promoting conservation and sustainable use of these scarce natural resources through appropriate location-specific measures.
  • Indian agriculture remains predominantly rainfed covering about 60% of the country’s net sown area and accounts for 40% of the total food production. Thus, the conservation of natural resources in conjunction with the development of rainfed agriculture holds the key to meeting burgeoning demands for food grain in the country.
  • Towards this end, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been formulated for enhancing agricultural productivity, especially in rainfed areas focusing on integrated farming, water use efficiency, soil health management, and synergizing resource conservation.
  • The National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), which is one of the eight missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) seeks to address issues associated with climate change.
  • Adaptation and mitigation strategies need to address food security, equitable access to food resources, enhancing livelihood opportunities, and contributing to the economic stability of the people in the end.
  • Mission, therefore, focuses to transform Indian agriculture into a climate-resilient production system through suitable adaptation and mitigation measures mainly in the domain of crops and animal husbandry.
  • Mission interventions are judiciously embedded in research and development activities, absorption of improved technology and best practices, the creation of physical and financial infrastructure and institutional framework, facilitating access to information, and capacity building.
  • While dryland agriculture will receive focused importance by way of developing suitable drought and pest-resistant crop varieties with necessary institutional support, the mission would also expand its coverage to rainfed areas for integrating farming systems in farms with local agroecology and also in the management of livestock and fisheries, so that the agricultural production system continues sustainable manners on one hand and natural resources are also conserved and utilized.

NMSA Major Components

NMSA as a programmatic intervention made operational from the year 2014-15 aims at making agriculture more productive, sustainable, remunerative, and climate-resilient by promoting location specific integrated/composite farming systems; soil and moisture conservation measures; comprehensive soil health management, efficient water management practices and mainstreaming rainfed technologies.

Rainfed Area Development

  • Integrated Farming System (IFS) is being promoted under RAD in which activities like horticulture, livestock, fishery, agroforestry, and value addition are to be taken up along with crops/cropping system.

Soil Health Management

  • SHM is aimed at promoting location as well as crop-specific sustainable soil health management including residue management, and organic farming practices by way of creating and linking soil fertility maps with macro-micro nutrient management, and appropriate land use based on land type. 

1 Rainfed Area Development(RAD)

Rainfed Area Development (RAD) as a component of NMSA is being implemented in the country from 2014-15. The RAD focuses on Integrated Farming System (IFS) for enhancing productivity and minimizing risks associated with climatic variabilities. Under this system, the crops/cropping system is integrated with activities like horticulture, livestock, fishery, agro-forest, apiculture, etc. to enable farmers not only in maximizing farm returns for sustaining livelihood but also to mitigate the impacts of drought, flood, or other extreme weather events with the income opportunity from allied activities during crop damage.

2   Sub-Mission on Agroforestry(SMAF)

Sub-Mission on Agroforestry under the framework of the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) has been launched during 2016-17 with an outlay of Rs.935 crore for a period of 4 years (2016-17 to 2019-20). The Sub-Mission aims to expand the tree coverage on farmland complementary to crops. Liberal transit regulation rule for transport of timber is a precondition for availing the benefit of the Agro-forestry program by the States. 

 3   National Agro-Forestry Policy

National Agroforestry Policy, 2014 has been formulated to bring coordination, convergence, and synergy between various elements of agroforestry scattered in various existing Missions, programs, and schemes of the Government.

The policy will provide a platform to stimulate the growth of agroforestry in India. It will encourage farmers for agroforestry as an integral component of the farming system which will lead to meeting the ever-increasing demand for timber, food, fuel, fodder, fertilizer, fiber, and other agroforestry products, conserving the natural resources and forests, protecting the environment & providing environmental security, and increasing the forest/tree cover.

A major role for agroforestry is emerging in the domain of environmental services. Agroforestry is known to have the potential to mitigate the climate change effects through microclimate moderation and natural resources conservation in the short run and carbon sequestration in the long run. Agroforestry species are known to sequester as much carbon in below-ground biomass as the primary forests, and far greater than the crop and grass systems.

4   Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana(PMKSY)

The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) was launched on 1st July 2015 with the motto of ‘Har Khet Ko Paani’ for providing end-to-end solutions in the irrigation supply chain, viz. water sources, distribution network, and farm-level applications.

PMKSY not only focuses on creating sources for assured irrigation but also on creating protective irrigation by harnessing rainwater at the micro-level through ‘Jal Sanchay’ and ‘Jal Sinchan’.

Micro-irrigation is to be popularized to ensure ‘Per drop-More crop’. PMKSY adopts State level planning and projected execution that allows States to draw up their irrigation development based on District Irrigation Plans and State Irrigation Plans.

PMKSY has the following components 

  • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Program (AIBP): To focus on faster completion of ongoing Major and Medium Irrigation, including National Projects. This component is being implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources, RD &GR.
  • PMKSY (Har Khet ko Pani): Source augmentation, distribution, groundwater development, lift irrigation, diversion of water from water plenty to water-scarce areas, supplementing rainwater harvesting beyond IWMP & MGNREGA, repair, restoration, and renovation of traditional water bodies. This component is being implemented by the Ministry of Water Resources, RD & GR.
  • PMKSY (Watershed): Ridge area treatment, drainage line treatment, soil and moisture conservation, water harvesting structure, livelihood support activities, and other watershed works. This component is being implemented by the Department of Land Resources.
  • PMKSY (Per Drop More Crop) is being implemented by DAC & FW. This component includes two sub-components i.e. Micro-irrigation and Other Interventions. Per Drop More Crop component supports Micro level storage structures, efficient water conveyance & application, precision irrigation systems, topping up of input cost beyond MGNREGA permissible limits, the creation of secondary storage, water lifting devices, etc. 

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  • Programmatic interventions based on land capability and compatible with climatic parameters in a few pilot blocks to ensure integrated development through the adoption and dissemination of rainfed technologies with greater reach in underserved areas and site-specific planning through coordination, convergence, and leveraging investments from other Schemes/Missions like MGNREGS, IWMP, RKVY, National Food Security Mission (NFSM), Mission for Integrated Development of H.

  • The mainstreaming of rainfed technologies developed through NICRA and the leveraging of resources from other programs/missions such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP), RKVY, etc. to pilot models for improving the productivity of rainfed farming in specific blocks.

  • By fusing many aspects of agriculture—including horticulture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, crops, and livestock—with agro-based income-generating activities and value addition, this component introduces appropriate farming systems. Additionally, this component promotes crop selection that is compatible with the local agroclimatic conditions, farmland development, resource conservation, and nutrient management methods based on soil test/soil health cards.

  • By promoting effective on-farm water management technology and equipment, OFWM focuses largely on improving water use efficiency. Along with the RAD component, this not only emphasizes application efficiency but also excellent rainwater gathering and management.

  • Through the creation and linking of soil fertility maps with macro-micro nutrient management, appropriate land use based on land capability, prudent fertilizer application, and minimizing soil erosion/degradation, SHM seeks to promote location-specific sustainable soil health management, including residue management, organic farming practices, and more.

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