With innovative strategies and technological advancements, the agriculture industry in India is also going through a makeover. Though the growth chart has been slow there is a lot happening on that front. SANGEETA YADAV tells you more
Since the evolution of mankind, agriculture has been the main source of occupation. Even in the 21st century, more than 75 per cent of rural population still depends on agriculture for their livelihood and are involved in the production of food and raw materials.
With the advancement of technology, even this industry has gone through a makeover — newer machines requires less hardwork, labour and is time saving. From tracktors, harvesting tools to fertilizers and other resources, farmers are picking up the trend and using the concept of organic farming and application of science and technology to their otherwise age-old methods.
According to Professor C Ramasamy, National Project Coordinator, Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP): “Farming as an economic activity is becoming unviable due to various reasons such as risks in production due to rainfall failure, market fluctuations for agricultural commodities, government policies, severe labour shortage, particularly in South India and other factors. Hence private investment in farming is declining. Unless massive reforms such as promotion of genetically modified crops, improving agricultural commodity value chain by allowing multinational retailing, raising the land ceiling of cultivable land, encouraging producers’ organisation, Public Private Partnerships in agricultural R&D, et al are brought in, Indian agriculture will stagnate,” he adds. Given this situation, people in the urban cities and towns have started organic farming at their homes producing food for their own consumption. This practise is both safe and encourages savings as well.
Talking about the agriculture scenario of other countries, Ramasamy adds, “Agriculture is commercially organised in agriculturally advanced countries. The role of private sector in R&D, seed, fertilizer, agrochemicals, agricultural machinery production, etc. is given importance and system of value chain is promoted. Thus agriculture is promoted in agri-business mode making it economically attractive as a profession”.
Public private initiative
Through the joint effort of public and private sectors, new processes and products have been introduced to take Indian agriculture technologically forward.
“The right kind of policy environment is essential. For example, promotion of GM crops which offer enormous benefits and use of modern machinery are delayed due to lack of supportive policies.
“Moreover, Government needs to extend a holistic policy framework to make farming economically viable and encourage investment in private sector in R&D, marketing, input supply, et al.
Besides having counselors and teachers who can spread awareness to the farmers about the latest technology on the block, Government should enhance public investment in agricultural development in areas such as irrigation, market infrastructure, storage and export of agricultural commodities.
By providing good incentives to strengthen producers-processors-retailers-consumers linkages and strengthen the infrastructure in all the villages, wholesale and terminal markets can improve the performance of this field,” Ramasamy tells you.
Revamping education and strategies
The agriculture education sector is also getting the support of private organisations. “A number of reforms are the need of the hour to strengthen agricultural education. Improvement in governance, merit as the sole criteria in selection of academic leaders and promotion of scientists, adequate investment in infrastructure and quality improvement in human resources, collaboration with leading institutions in developed countries and more decentralisation of educational administration are critical for taking Indian agricultural education to greater heights.
“Each university must have a Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence to train the teachers. It must also take up research in this area so as to make appropriate policies to promote teaching-learning systems,” he concludes.
(The article was published in the Pioneer Newspaper)