عنوان مقاله [English]
A major challenge facing sustainable agricultural production is that of selecting cropping patterns that observe the restrictions on such natural local capacities as soil, climate, and renewable water resources. This important issue has also been reflected with due emphasis in the state laws and national documents on water and agriculture as evidenced by the number of laws and national documents (13) approved/adopted on the cropping pattern issue, standing second only to that of “Efficient use of water” (with 25 laws/documents). In this paper, a comprehensive analytical review and a SWOT analysis are initially conducted of the laws and national documents on cropping pattern practices before recommendations and suggestions are formulated for the practical implementation of a national cropping scheme at the state level. Among the important conclusions to be drawn from this review is that despite the legally binding requirements (such as The Enhancing Productivity in Agriculture and Natural Resources Sectors Act), no serious and effective measures have yet been taken in this filed except in such cases as greenhouse crop production and extraterritorial farming. In the few cases where actions have been taken, they have been mostly restricted to those within a specific sector in the absence of an integrated approach or coordination with other sectors or organizations involved. It is also observed that little attention has been paid in the relevant laws and regulations to capacity building and training on cropping pattern issues while the published research and field studies in the this area are quite scant as well. Another area neglected in the development of a national cropping scheme is the inclusion of indigenous and under-utilized crops in such schemes, or introduction of exotic crops with low water demand but high economic value for adaptation to the present climate at the state level that ensure sustainable agricultural production. Finally, a long time has elapsed since these laws and legal documents were adopted/passed during which time the climate has drastically changed and new farm technologies have emerged. These considerations necessarily require revisions in the existing laws and regulations or development of brand new ones.