Another Catch-22 in Irrigated Agriculture
Punjab, India’s granary for almost 50 years, is on the brink. In a water-short province, farmers continue to bore deeper wells to water their rice crops that feed into an overfull national rice stock. While their returns are assured through a ‘minimum support program’, nothing supports the collapse of groundwater aquifers and increased salinity that results from over-irrigation. While water conservation is beginning to acquire the significance it deserves, it makes little sense to apply the hard won water savings to traditionally thirsty crops. Crop migration is Punjab’s only solution to an impending ecological disaster.