Chapter 6 - HEIA, LEIA and LEISA | Unit - 3 | Farming System and Sustainable Agriculture

Farming System and Sustainable Agriculture

UNIT - III

Syllabus
Sustainable agriculture- problems and their impact on agriculture, indicators of sustainability, adaptation and mitigation, conservation agriculture strategies in agriculture, HEIA, LEIA, and LEISA and its techniques for sustainability. 

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Chapter 6

HEIA, LEIA, and LEISA and its techniques for sustainability.

HEIA, LEIA, and LEISA are three related approaches to sustainable agriculture that focus on incorporating the needs and knowledge of local communities into agricultural development. These approaches emphasize the importance of participatory methods, including farmer participation, in designing and implementing sustainable agricultural practices.


HEIA: "High external input agriculture" is a term used to describe a type of agriculture that relies heavily on external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fossil fuels. This type of agriculture often focuses on maximizing yields and profits in the short-term, without considering the long-term impacts on the environment or on the health and well-being of farmers and consumers.

HEIA can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity, as well as contribute to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions from the production and use of synthetic inputs and from the loss of soil carbon. It can also have negative social impacts, such as the displacement of small-scale farmers and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few large agribusiness corporations.

Sustainable agriculture practices, on the other hand, seek to reduce reliance on external inputs and prioritize ecological and social sustainability. This can involve techniques such as crop rotations, agroforestry, cover cropping, and integrated pest management, as well as the use of organic and regenerative farming practices that focus on building soil health and increasing biodiversity.

Advantages of High External Input Agriculture (HEIA):

High yields: HEIA practices often result in higher yields and profits in the short term due to the heavy use of synthetic inputs.

Increased food production: HEIA can increase the overall food production, which can help to feed a growing population. Malnutrition problem easily managed.

Lower labor requirements: HEIA practices can reduce labor requirements for farmers due to the use of machinery and synthetic inputs.

Lower food prices: HEIA can result in lower food prices due to increased production and lower labor requirements.

Increase in Income and profit margin 

Productivity of land is increased 


Disadvantages of High External Input Agriculture (HEIA):

Environmental degradation: HEIA practices can contribute to environmental degradation, including soil erosion, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Soil degradation: The excessive use of synthetic inputs can degrade the quality of the soil over time, reducing its productivity and resilience.

Health risks: HEIA can pose health risks to farmers and consumers due to the use of synthetic inputs, which can lead to pesticide exposure and food contamination.

Contribution to climate change: HEIA contributes to climate change through the production and use of synthetic inputs, as well as through the loss of soil carbon.

Dependency on external inputs: HEIA practices can create dependency on external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can be expensive and subject to price volatility.

Traditional varities of seeds face extinction 

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LEIA

Low external input agriculture" (LEIA) is a type of agriculture that relies on low amounts of external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and fossil fuels. This approach focuses on using local resources and knowledge to promote sustainable farming practices that improve soil health, conserve natural resources, and increase biodiversity.

Advantages of Low External Input Agriculture (LEIA):

Environmental sustainability: LEIA practices promote environmental sustainability by reducing the use of synthetic inputs, which can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Improved soil health: LEIA practices improve soil health by increasing organic matter, nutrients, and microbial activity, which can increase soil fertility and productivity.

Lower carbon footprint: LEIA has a lower carbon footprint compared to HEIA due to reduced use of fossil fuels and synthetic inputs.

Reduced health risks: LEIA can reduce health risks to farmers and consumers by minimizing exposure to synthetic inputs.

Increased biodiversity: LEIA practices promote increased biodiversity through the use of crop rotations, intercropping, and other techniques that support beneficial insects and other wildlife.


Disadvantages of Low External Input Agriculture (LEIA):

Lower yields: LEIA practices may result in lower yields compared to HEIA practices due to the reduced use of synthetic inputs.

Higher labor requirements: LEIA practices can require more labor-intensive work due to the use of traditional farming techniques.

Limited access to external inputs: LEIA practices can limit access to external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can be necessary in certain circumstances to address specific pests or nutrient deficiencies.

Dependence on local resources: LEIA practices rely heavily on local resources and knowledge, which may limit the ability to scale up or adapt to changing environmental conditions or market demands.

Overall, LEIA practices can provide a more sustainable approach to agriculture that prioritizes environmental and social sustainability. While there may be some challenges associated with this approach, the benefits of promoting sustainable agriculture practices can help to address many of the environmental, social, and economic challenges facing modern agriculture.


LEISA (Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture): LEISA is an approach to sustainable agriculture that emphasizes the use of local resources and knowledge to minimize external inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides, and energy. LEISA emphasizes the importance of agroecological practices such as crop rotation, intercropping, and the use of organic amendments to maintain soil fertility and promote biodiversity. LEISA also emphasizes the importance of incorporating local knowledge and practices into agricultural development.

LEISA techniques include the following:

  1. Organic farming: Organic farming is a technique of crop production that relies on the use of natural fertilizers and pest control methods, rather than synthetic chemicals. Organic farming practices aim to improve soil fertility and reduce the use of external inputs, which can help to improve the sustainability of farming systems.
  2. Agroforestry: Agroforestry is the practice of integrating trees into agricultural systems, either by planting trees among crops or by planting crops under the shade of trees. Agroforestry can provide a range of benefits, including improved soil fertility, increased biodiversity, and reduced soil erosion.
  3. Crop rotation: Crop rotation involves alternating the crops grown in a particular field from season to season. This can help to improve soil fertility and reduce the incidence of pests and diseases.
  4. Integrated pest management (IPM): IPM is a technique that involves the use of a range of pest control methods, including biological, mechanical, and chemical methods, in a coordinated and integrated manner. IPM aims to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides and to promote the use of natural pest control methods.
  5. Conservation tillage: Conservation tillage involves reducing the amount of tillage used in crop production. This can help to reduce soil erosion, improve soil structure and fertility, and reduce the use of external inputs.
  6. Livestock integration: Livestock integration involves integrating livestock into crop production systems, either by using animal manure as a natural fertilizer or by using livestock to help control weeds or pests.
  7. Water management: Water management techniques, such as rainwater harvesting and irrigation management, can help to improve water use efficiency and reduce water stress on agricultural systems.
Advantages of Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA):
Environmental sustainability: LEISA practices promote environmental sustainability by reducing the use of synthetic inputs, minimizing soil erosion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing biodiversity.
Increased food security: LEISA practices can increase food security by promoting the use of diverse crops, improving soil fertility and productivity, and reducing dependence on external inputs.
Improved livelihoods: LEISA practices can improve the livelihoods of farmers by reducing production costs, increasing yields, and providing opportunities for diversification and value-added activities.
Enhanced social equity: LEISA practices can enhance social equity by promoting the participation of marginalized groups, improving access to resources and markets, and promoting gender equality.
Adaptability: LEISA practices can be adapted to local conditions and needs, allowing farmers to respond to environmental and economic changes.

Disadvantages of Low External Input Sustainable Agriculture (LEISA):
Lower yields: LEISA practices may result in lower yields compared to HEIA practices in the short term, although long-term productivity can be maintained or even increased with good management practices.
Limited access to external inputs: LEISA practices may limit access to external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can be necessary in certain circumstances to address specific pests or nutrient deficiencies.
Higher labor requirements: LEISA practices can require more labor-intensive work due to the use of traditional farming techniques and the need for manual weed control and other practices.
Dependence on local resources: LEISA practices rely heavily on local resources and knowledge, which may limit the ability to scale up or adapt to changing environmental conditions or market demands.

Overall, LEISA techniques aim to improve the sustainability of farming systems by reducing the use of external inputs, improving soil fertility and biodiversity, and promoting the integration of different components of the farming system.

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