Integrated Farming Model for Small Farmers Under Indian Conditions

Published on: 11/5/2018
Author/s : Amit Kumar Singh 1, Surjyakanta Roy 2. / 1 M.Sc. LPM Scholar, ICAR-NDRI, Karnal, 132001; 2 M.Sc. Dairy Extension Scholar, ICAR-NDRI, Karnal, 132001.

Integrated Farming System (IFS) is an interdependent, interrelated often interlocking production systems based on few crops, animals and related subsidiary enterprises in such a way that maximize the utilization of nutrients of each system and minimize the negative effect of these enterprises on environment.

Under Indian conditions where large population of farmers comes under small and marginal farmers, it becomes very necessary to find out the farming techniques which are best suited to them. Traditional farming system of cultivating only specific crops and some livestock species in some specific season is found not that much profitable and sustainable as compared to integrated farming system.

Advantages of Integrated Farming System

Benefits or Advantages of Integrated Farming System-

  • Productivity: one of the main benefits of maintaining IFS, to increase yield of different components in terms of per unit area or per unit of cost involved with it.
  • Profitability: by utilising each other by-product as a raw material of other components reduce cost of cultivation/maintenance as well as enhancing soil fertility for sustainable production, leads a higher BC ratio by managing waste of by-products and full utilization of investment.
  • Potentiality or Sustainability: In long term aspects, by linking of different components act as organic supplementary through effective utilization of available resources, provides an opportunity to regain potentiality of production.
  • Balanced Food: different component supplies different nutrients which can fulfill ones daily required nutrients.
  • Environmental Safety: Effectively recycling of waste material as others raw materials through IFS models, thus minimize environment pollution.
  • Recycling: In IFS, Effective recycling of waste material (crop residues and livestock wastes) helps to make a farm self-sufficient in terms of avoiding outside inputs – fertilizers, agrochemicals, feeds, energy, etc.
  • Income Rounds the year: Due to maintenance of different enterprises with crops, eggs, milk, mushroom, honey, cocoons silkworm, it provides income throughout the year.
  • Adoption of New Technology: IFS not only for marginal and small farmer make sustainable production. As a resourceful farmers (big farmer) can fully utilize available technology to get greater benefit from it. Flow of money throughout the year induce acceptance phenomenon in farmers to adopt latest technology to get the work done easily with less time.
  • Saving Energy: An alternative energy source can be established to reduce our dependence on fossil energy source within short time. From organic wastes available in the system, it can be utilized to generate biogas. It will be used at crisis time or when it requires.
  • Meeting Fodder crisis: Due to effectively use of land, plantation of perennial or annual fodder crops or combination of it can make availability of feed for animal throughout the year. Some legumes fodder can fixed nitrogen in soil in terms of increasing soil fertility.By maintaining this much one can avoid fodder crisis in lean period.
  • Solving Fuel and Timber Crisis: By linking of agro-Silviculture can avail fuel or timber without deteriorate of other components. This will also greatly help to keep forestation, preserving our natural ecosystem.
  • Employment Generation: IFS provide enough scope to employ family labour round the year. By combing different enterprises would increase the labour requirement significantly and would help in reducing the problems of underemployment to a great extent.
  • Agro-industries: When one of produce linked in IFS are increased to commercial level there is surplus value adoption leading to development of allied agro-industries.
  • Increasing Input Efficiency: IFS provide good scope to use inputs in different component greater efficiency and benefit-cost ratio.

There are several climatic zones of India having different scope and perspectives for integrated farming. Different climatic zones of India are as follows:


This class of fruits grows successfully in cold regions where temperature falls below freezing point during winter. During the cold season, the trees shed their leaves and enter into rest period. For breaking this rest period or dormancy, a definite chilling period is required. This class includes fruits like apples, pears, walnut, almond, plums, cherries, peaches etc.


This class includes fruit crops which are unable to endure freezing temperatures, some of them being severally injured by even temperature somewhat above the freezing point. This class required hot and humid climate in summer and milder winter. It includes fruits like mango banana, pineapple, and cashew, Pomegranate, Guava, Amla and Chicku.

Sub - topical:

These classes of fruits grow mostly in plains where the climate is hot and comparatively dry and the winter is loss severe. It includes fruits like citrus papaya and fig.

The States growing the above three types are given below

3Methodology for selecting appropriate integrated farming model



Various important suggested models for different areas of India

  1. Integrated farming models for northeastern hilly regions of  India
  2. Integrated farming models for coastal regions of India
  3. Integrated farming models for central India

Integrated farming models for northeastern hilly regions of India

This region consists of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Sikkim, Assam, and Tripura. Existing undulated terrain and dual effects of water are the main limiting constraint in storing/ concentration of runoff water.

Following integrated farming model will be suitable:

  •  Integrated Fish cum Pig farming
  • Integrated Fish cum Duck Farming
  • Integrated Fish Farming-Chicken
  • Integrated Fish farming-cum-Cattle farming
  • Integrated Fish farming-cum-Rabbit farming
  • Integrated Fish farming-cum-Agriculture 

Integrated farming models for coastal regions of India

This region has tropical type of climate. Indian coastal region consists of:


Following models are suitable for this region:

  • Integrated Fish cum Duck Farming
  • Integrated Fish Farming-Chicken
  • Integrated Fish farming-cum-Cattle farming
  • Integrated Fish farming-cum-Rabbit farming

Integrated Fish farming-cum-Agriculture 


Integrated farming models for central and northern India

This region consists of Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Following models are suitable for this region:

  • Agriculture + livestock
  • Agriculture + livestock + poultry
  • Horticulture + fish culture + poultry
  • Pig cum fish culture
  • Agricultural + silvipasture
  • Sericulture + fish culture
  • fish culture + sericulture
  • Agricultural(rice) + fish+ mushroom cultivation
  • Agricultural + duckery + poultry
  • Poultry + fish culture 

Selection of ponds can be seasonal or perennial.

The perennial ponds which retain water throughout the year are selected for culture of table fish. The newly excavated ponds should be rectangular in shape and of manageable size (0.4 ha).

Construction of low cost water harvesting pond for IFS

Small ponds of sizes ranging from 0.01 – 0.10 ha with desired depth of 1.0 – 1.5 metre with side slopes of 1- 1.5 m can be developed. Figure shows water harvesting pond constructed and lined with 300 micron LDPE at KVK Aizawl. Since lined the pond base is treated with 3-5 cm layer soil (approx). 


 Water harvesting pond constructed and lined with 300 micron LDPE at KVK Aizawl


The pond is stocked after the pond water gets properly detoxified. The stocking rates vary from 8000-8500 fingerlings per hectare (100m x100m) and a species ratio of 40% surface feeders, 20% column feeders, 30% bottom feeders and 10% macro vegetation feeder is preferred for high fish yields. Mixed culture of Indian Major carps can be taken up with species ratio of 40% surface feeders, 30% column feeders and 30% bottom feeders.

Examples of:

Surface feeder fishes: Catla (Gibelion catla),

Column feeder fishes: Rohu, Silver carp

Bottom feeder fishes: Murrail, Mrigal


Lime is applied @ 250-350kg/ha/yr depending upon the soil and water conditions. Half the quantity is applied before stocking the fish and the rest in 2-4 installments as and when necessary.

Periodical netting

Trial netting is done once a month to check the growth of fish. It also helps in timely detection of parasitic infection, if any.


Keeping in view the size attained, prevailing market rate and demand of fish in the local market, partial harvesting of fish is done. After harvesting partially, the stock replenished with the same number of fingerlings. Final harvesting is done after 12 months of rearing. Fish yields ranging from 6000-7000kg/ ha/yr is generally obtained whereas pigs attain slaughter size (70-80kg) within 6-7 months.

The system has obvious advantages:

The pond dikes provide space for erection of animal housing units. Pond water is used for cleaning the pigsties and for bathing the pigs.The system cannot be adopted in all parts of India due to religious consideration but it has special significance in the North Eastern Region as it can improve the socioeconomic status of weaker rural communities, especially the tribals who traditionally raise pigs at their backyards and fond of eating fish. They can take up fish-pig farming easily.

Integrated Fish cum Duck Farming

Raising ducks over fishponds fits very well with the fish polyculture system, as the ducks are highly compatible with cultivated fishes. 100-150 ducks are sufficient for 1 Hectare pond. The system is advantageous to farmers in many ways:

  • Ducks keep water plants in check.
  • Ducks loosen the pond bottom with their dabbling and help in release of nutrients from the soil which increases pond productivity.
  • Ducks aerate the water while swimming; thus they have been biological aerators.
  • Duck houses are constructed on pond dikes; hence, no additional land is required for duckery activities.
  • Ducks get most of their total feed requirements from the pond in the form of aquatic weeds, insects, larvae, earthworms, etc. They need very little feed, and farmers normally give kitchen wastes, molasses and rice bran, for the purpose. 

Integrated Fish farming-cum-Cattle farming

Cattle dung, urine as well as the washing of cattle shed has superb manurial value. The waste cattle fodder can also be utilized as fish feed. The cattle shed can be constructed on the widen embankment of fish pond itself, so the waste and washing are directly drained into the fish pond. 5-6 cattle will suffice for 1.0 ha pond.

Integrated Fish farming-cum-Rabbit farming

In rabbit-fish integration, rabbit-house is built alongside the embankments so that the wastes and washings are drained directly into the pond. The excreta provided by 300-400 rabbits is sufficient to fertilize 1.0 ha of pond. Fish yields to the tune of 3500 to 4000 kg are obtained by stocking 15,000 fingerlings/year/ha.

Integrated Fish farming-cum-Agriculture:

Fish farming-cum-Horticulture farming: Generally, to meet the daily needs of fruits for a family of 4-5 members a land space of about 200 m2 is needed. Normally, embankments of a fish pond provide more than 200 m2 area. Pond bunds account for 25 to 33% of farm area.

Fish farming-cum- Vegetable farming

Usually a land space of  200 sq.m. is needed for kitchen gardening and embankments of a fish pond provide more area than this. In a year, two crops of vegetables can be grown. The vegetables which are considered ideal for growing on pond embankments are bitter guard, lady’s finger, bottle gourd, brinjal, lobia, cucumber, french beans, pumpkin, tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, palak, etc. 



There are always integrations at different levels in the existing family farming system practiced by the small holding farmers in the region. Better food security, moreover, the system help poor small farmers, who have very small land holding for crop production and a few heads of livestock to diversify farm production, increase cash income, improve quality and quantity of food produced and exploitation of unutilized resources.

Note: Photos are taken from internet for information purpose only. Author does not commit it to be his own.


  1. 1. 27/08/2018)


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  1. 4. 10/09/2018)
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