Mumbai The declining quality of land and water resources available for crop production in India has major implications for the future, said United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) India Representative, Dr Peter Kenmore.

Since there is no option but to increase food production to feed a growing population "we need to do it in a sustainable manner," he said.

Delivering the National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) 30th anniversary lecture on ‘Future of Global Agriculture: Challenges and Opportunities for India' here on Monday, Kenmore said, "There is little room for expansion of arable land in most developing countries, including India. Therefore, between 2015 and 2030, a large part of the required food production increase will have to come from yield increases and crop intensification."

He added that the need to invest in smart farming techniques was important. Even after full irrigation potential is achieved, more than half of India's farmlands will continue to remain rain-fed, he observed, and therefore optimum utilisation of ground water holds the key.

"Many communities will run out of ground water if they make a wrong choice of which crop to grow," he said.

Kenmore, a veteran agricultural scientist and an alumnus of Harvard and Berkeley Universities, stressed on the need to develop sustainable techniques to prevent land degradation, salination of irrigated areas, over extraction of groundwater, the build-up of pest resistance and erosion of biodiversity.