Sustainability of Punjab agriculture is critical for India’s food security. Although the production and productivity of paddy and wheat have gone up in this region over the last four decades, this has created an environmental crisis in Punjab.

The state had to intervene to arrest the declining soil health and conserve water. The government of Punjab initially chose to adopt the legislative route as other means of discouraging early sowing and transplanting (such as advocacy) failed. Since 2010, the government of Punjab has been actively engaged in promoting new farm machinery that conserves soil and water (laser leveler, happy seeder, zero-till seed-cum-fertilizer drill, rotavator) through training, demonstrations, and financial incentives for its purchase. These regulatory and technological initiatives to address these challenges do not yet show results, mainly because of the lack of comprehensive measures to address the wide range of institutional and policy changes required among different organizations. However, the research clearly illustrates the continuing role of the state as an enabler, regulator, funder, and promoter in bringing more sustainable management practices in commercial agriculture.

See Chapter 7 “Many Policies, Few Results: Why Sustainable Agriculture Remains Elusive In Punjab” in Shades of Green: Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives to Reduce The Environmental Footprint of Commercial Agriculture.

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