Solar panels might seem like they’re in direct competition with plants. One is catching sunlight to do photosynthesis, the other wants to take it to push electrons. Surely Highlander rules apply, and there can be only one on a plot of land, right?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday pushed for greater grassroots water conservation efforts amid concerns weak monsoon rains would push millions of drought-hit people to the edge and hammer agricultural production in Asia’s third-biggest economy.
Farmers and plant breeders are in a race against time. The world population is growing rapidly, requiring ever more food, but the amount of cultivable land is limited. Warmer temperatures have extended growth seasons in some areas — and brought drought and pests to others.
The first crops of tomatoes and cucumbers grown inside electricity-generating solar greenhouses were as healthy as those raised in conventional greenhouses, signaling that ‘smart’ greenhouses hold great promise for dual-use farming and renewable electricity production.
Pleas by local officials for farmers to switch from rice to oilseeds and pulses and protect dangerously low water levels are falling on deaf ears, and may be further undermined by government policies encouraging cultivation of thirsty crops.
Millions of unsuspecting Indian farmers are spraying fake pesticides onto their fields, contaminating soil, cutting crop yields and putting both food security and human health at risk in the country of 1.25 billion people.