Science and Agriculture Essay
The most important factor in any planning for India’s development and economic uplift is that of turning a hungry, discontented people into a happy, well-fed one. Food can be had either by import or by production at home.
India must produce her own food. The problem, therefore, reduces itself to one of agricultural improvement. We must grow more food. The scientist has other methods. The chemist, the biologist, the engineer and even the physicist, have a great role to play in applying science to large-scale production, and they must be given due scope for carrying on experiments and researches.
The first step to be taken is to increase the fertility of the soil, to ensure a higher yield of crops per acre. Old farmers relied upon easily available manure like cow dung. He must be taught to realize that chemical fertilisers can improve the productivity of land to an undreamt of extent. The proportion of organic and inorganic manures depends upon the nature of the soil.
The next step is to improve the quality of the seed. The supply of good seeds is by far the most vital problem. Plant breeding is not only an art; it is a highly specialized science. Fortunately, at many agricultural farms, especially in Hyderabad, this is being done successfully. The scientist will help us to raise needs fit for a local environment. It is reported that in former Soviet Union hybridization method was adopted with great success.
Improved methods of cultivation must also be introduced. Japanese method of rice cultivation has yielded splendid results, wherever applied. In Europe, the production per acre is much higher than in our country. So high yielding strains should be used and double harvesting is to be ensured every year.
Science can help agriculture in another way by fighting down the insects and bacterial pests that destroy considerable quantities of grains and crops. Plants are liable to be attacked by these pests at all times. Faulty methods of storing food also are responsible for much avoidable loss. If we want to increase our food supply, not only should production be improved but wastage also must be eliminated by improved methods of farming and preserving surplus food grains.
Science can supplement agriculture by creating other sources of supply. In Europe, seaweed, hitherto considered as a waste product, is being used for fodder. In Russia and Israel, desert land is being treated to produce fodder and crops. All this leaves a surplus of land for the cultivation of crops. Chemical methods of producing artificial food for human beings can also be resorted to. Also waste lands are to be reclaimed along with fallow plots for tillage.
Thus science can be made a valuable any of agriculture. New research centres must be opened all over the country. The foundation of agricultural universities is a good beginning; for it is from the universities that research experts will spread out to other parts of our big country.
It is a happy sign and matter of pride that India today is self sufficient in food. As a matter of fact, due to scrupulous planning India now produces 20 crore tons of food crops in a year, maintaining a sufficient buffer stock. India in now in a position to export food grains.
1. Science has completely revolutionized the methods and techniques of agriculture.
2. Manual labor has been completely replaced by machines.
3. Science has provided much better facilities for irrigation.
4. The use of chemical manures has greatly increased the fertility of the soil.
5. Scientific research has helped in the improvement of the quality of seeds.
6. Science has helped in fighting down the insect pests that destroy the crops.
7. Even nuclear research is proving very useful for agriculture.
This is an age of science. There is hardly anything in life which has not been affected by science. It is all-pervasive. Life today is governed and conditioned by off-shoots of science, and it is very difficult to imagine existence without them, said Pandit Nehru. Science has completely revolutionized the methods and techniques of agriculture as well. It has considerably improved the agricultural conditions and has added to the prosperity of agricultural countries.
They had to work in the fields even in the scorching heat of the sun. They could not afford to be off their work even when it was intense cold. Even then they led a wretched life. Their whole life was a constant struggle against the forces of nature. There was no proper provision for irrigation. The excessive rains caused great havoc and droughts proved disastrous. If at all they were successful in raising the crops, destructive pests and bacteria did not spare them. They were totally unarmed against such unforeseen powers.
Agricultural science, especially in advanced countries America and Russia, has made tremendous progress. Manual labour has completely been replaced by machines. The farmers need not tire their bodies unnecessarily. Machines are there to plough the land, to sow the seed, to harvest and to do threshing. This led to greater efficiency and greater productiveness. The resources of the land are fully exploited and all waste is eliminated….
Science has brought about a revolution in every walk of life. Life will come to a standstill, if the fast moving means of transports are given away. Without electricity our life will become extremely miserable. World will be thrown into the grip of fatal epidemics. Indeed, the achievements of science and technology in nearly all walks of life in a state of bewilderment. Happiness, welfare and prosperity have become synonymous with science.
Science has helped man to increase production in various ways. Today those countries matter in world affairs which are industrially advanced. In our
own country, there are a large number of leading industries. Textiles industry, iron and steel industry, paper industry, sugar industry, fertilizer industry are only a few such important industries.
Rapid industrialization of the country has become the slogan of the day. Without science we cannot produce enough for the rapidly growing population of the world. That is why the late Prime Minister Nehru always emphasized the need of promoting science and technology. Without development of science, industrial progress and increased production can never be possible. Man would not have been so well-dressed in the absence of textile industry. Today we have cloth enough not only to meet our demand but also to spare for other countries. Division labor has been carried to its perfection. Not only has the production of goods with the help of machines been made possible, but also their distribution has been made world-wide. Today, we have world markets.
Yet we should not over look some of the harmful effects of the use of science industry. Production has become so mechanical that there is hardly any scope for the individual to show his skill and ability. In many cases, human labor has been replaced by machines, there by leading to unemployment. Big industrial cities, a direct result of science, present a number of problems of their own. Environment is polluted and hence unhealthy. Often there is leakage of poisonous gases. Through science has promoted industries, yet it cannot be considered an unmixed blessing.
Agriculture is also very much indebted to science. Ever increasing demand for food, due to the rapidly growing population, could not have been met in the absence of science. Extensive and intensive agriculture has been made possible with its help. Improved means of irrigation, new machines like tractors, chemical fertilizer, disease assistant varieties of seeds, are some of its contributions to agriculture. Deserts have been converted into greeneries of the world.
In other important branches of agriculture also e.g., stories of produce and its marketing, science is not found lacking. Big plants have been erected, where farm produce can be stored in a scientific way without any damage to a single grain. Perishable agriculture products are taken to markets in such a short time that they reach quite fresh.
In spite of all this contribution of science to agriculture, critics of its use are not wanting. They argue that land will become useless and unproductive with the increased use of chemical fertilizers. They do not approve of mechanized farming i.e. the use of tractors and other machines in agriculture. They believe that this will upset the rural economy. Bullock carts will be thrown out of use. Farmers will become indifferent to cows. In short, rural life will suffer, if science is not used in a restricted way only.
If we compare the advantages and disadvantages of science in agriculture and industry, we will arrive at the conclusion that our existence itself will be in peril, if we exclude the services of science from these spheres. Indeed, if today is better fed and dressed it is entirely due to the use of science in industry and agriculture. We are under a heavy debt to science.
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