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Interviews



 
  • Q. What are the 3 major challenges for Agriculture in Indian Scenario?

    A. (a) Inadequate irrigation and electricity supply (b)High input costs and lower prices for produce (c)Huge disparities between price of agriculture produce and factory produce
  • Q. What are the key interventions you would suggest to overcome stagnant growth in agriculture sector?

    A. Indian agriculture has come a long way since independence. We have become self reliant in food production. Production of fruits, vegetables, fish and milk have also registered mani-fold increase. However, it is also a fact that we have not developed as much as we should have. We have lacked a sense of direction, vision and goal. Had we worked with a sense of purpose and right direction, we would have become the leading nation of the world in agriculture and animal husbandry. Our villages could have prospered and farmers happier. Even today our villages are much different than our cities. There is a huge gap between agriculture and industry. If we can provide the right price and right market to farmers they can lead a happy and dignified life. We have problems in storage and food processing facilities and efforts should be made to strengthen these.
  • Q. Do you think farmers should have a say in policy making?

    A. There is no participation of farmers in policy making. We should ensure that farmers at block, district and national level participate in policy making process. This will ensure that agriculture policies are adequately designed and implemented.
  • Q. How can we make the system more responsive to the needs of agriculture sector?

    A. Our administrative apparatus is not adequately attuned to the needs of agriculture sector. The administrative structure takes care of capitalist and feudal interests. That is why it is important that people of rural and agriculture background are given priority in administrative recruitments. In the state administrative services, students who have been to high schools in rural areas should be given preference so that there is adequate representation of rural India in administration. This will automatically make the system more responsive to farmers.
  • Q. Many including the youth is turning away from agriculture and simultaneously it has become less remunerative. What are the measures you would like to suggest to overcome this challenge?

    A. We are confronted with a disturbing trend of people moving away from agriculture. Between 1991 to 2011, there has been a decline of 18% population involved in agriculture. About 11% people from rural areas - mostly farmers - have moved away from agriculture in search of more lucrative options. Modern youth do not like to work with traditional equipment and tools as they involved physical labour. We should ensure that modern farmers get access to modern instruments and get trained in modern practices. Agriculture should be made more profitable and dignity of farmers need to be taken care of. Farmers should be given adequate attention in government offices and should have access to government guest houses and circuit houses. We should consider taking a farmer along with his / her spouse to Bharat Darshan once or twice in his life time.
  • Q. Do you think there are problems in agriculture education sector in India? Your recommendations?

    A. Agriculture education should be fine-tuned in a manner that students can get exposed to the realities of rural India. Students and teachers of agriculture universities should spend at least one year in rural areas where they should work with Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) and spread awareness on modern farming among farmers. They should also be given task of soil and water testing.We should have special cadre for agriculture services at the national level. We should make sure that all officials involved in agriculture ministry including those in animal husbandry, fisheries and horticulture should be trained intensively. In fact, the agriculture secretary and his subordinates should all be drawn from among agriculture specialists. The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) should conduct special examinations to recruit officers for agriculture and animal husbandry sectors. There should be minimal involvement of IAS officers in the agriculture sector. IAS should be rechristened as Indian Agriculture Service.
  • Q. How important is research in agriculture?

    A. Today we spend less than even 1% on agriculture research and education and this is reflected in our capabilities, which had the potential to become the best in the world. Our institutions are suffering for want of adequate investments and I think it is important to revitalize these institutions in order to give a fillip to the agriculture sector. We should have special budget for agriculture on the lines of railway budget. Agriculture should be given a much higher allocation of the total budget.
  • Q. What is your take on GM crops?

    A. We do not need it. We have adequate resources ourselves and do not require foreign technology. It is not in the interest of farmers.
  • Q. How is the NDA government working towards addressing the many challenges of Indian farmers?

    A. Our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has his heart firmly on the challenges facing the agriculture and rural development. Given his firm zeal and commitment, I am certain the future of villages, poor and farmers are in for major transformation – you are aware the many new initiatives the government has announced and working on and we shall soon see a holistic growth and development. We are hopeful that India of tomorrow shall be bright. It is time our farmers also came out of the narrow divides of caste and communalism, embrace nationalism and commit themselves to the all round growth of rural communities and the nation. This interview was conducted by Neha Gandhi
By Neha Gandhi
info@indiagri.in
Interviews

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27 Aug 2020

Mr Anil Ghanwat
President, Shetkari Sanghatana
 

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EDITOR'S NOTE

13 Jul 2020

Uniting India's farmers: FPOs will strengthen the rural economy

The proposed creation of ten thousand new Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs) until 2023-24 by the government is a big step in the right direction. The empowerment of farmers in a country where 86 perce