(The Gist of Kurukshetra) Rejuvenation of Agriculture through Research
Rejuvenation of Agriculture through Research
The growth rate of the agriculture sector and for the welfare of the farmers. The focus is not only on production but also on raising farmers’ income and reducing agriculture-related risks. The Government has initiated several policy reforms to increase the income of farmers.
Rejuvenate Indian agriculture:
- In July 2019, the Prime Minister constituted a high-powered committee of Chief Ministers to rejuvenate Indian agriculture. The committee members included Chief Ministers of seven states, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, and a member of NITI Aayog.
- The Government has allocated 2.83 lakh crore rupees in the budget for the year 2020-21for agriculture and allied activities, irrigation and rural development, which is the highest budget allocation to date.
- The Government desires that the economic condition of all farmers improves, agricultural production and productivity increase more and more, our farmers get adequate opportunity to do farming with scientific methods and research in all vital areas of agriculture accelerates.
- There should not only be the development of agricultural equipment and machinery, but the ordinary farmer should have easy access to them also. Agricultural technology should be cost-effective rather than expensive so that every farmer can use it.
- The Prime Minister, sensing future food grain challenges, had urged the farmers, agricultural experts, and state governments for a second Green Revolution. Today, the nation is progressing at a fast pace to realise the vision of the Prime Minister with multi-faceted development of the agriculture sector, application of the scientific
- methodology, innovations and optimum use of modern technology in agriculture. Since the last tenure of the Modi Government, full attention has been given on boosting agricultural production and maintaining nutritional quality through agricultural research.
- The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India, and its associated agricultural research institutes have given a new direction to agricultural research during the past years. It was the outcome of providing latest technology of agriculture to the farmers that as compared to the year 1950-51, today our country has registered growth of 5.6times more in food grain production, 10.5 times more in the horticulture sector, 18.26 times more in the fisheries sector, 11 times more in milk production and 52.9 times more in egg production.
- It is a pleasant scenario that India’s total food grain production, which was only 50 million tonnes in 1950-51, has increased to 285 million tonnes in 2018-19. India has achieved these milestones despite the decrease in availability of land and water resources. The Green Revolution of the 1960s completely transformed the scenario of food security in India.
- The Government has ensured availability of food to every citizen of the country by implementing policies and initiatives like National Food Security Act, National Nutrition Mission etc. and made every effort to make nutritious food items available to the needy at the minimum price.
Research Related to Crop Varieties:
- About the recent past, total of 220 crop varieties have been notified and released for commercial cultivation in the year 2019-20. It includes 101 varieties that are climate-friendly, while 15 are multi-stress tolerant varieties. Of the total developed varieties, there are 96 grains, 51 oilseeds, 18 commercial crops, and 18 fodder crop varieties.
- Twenty bio-fortified varieties of various crops, including rice, maize, wheat, sorghum, millet, linseed, and ragi, have also been developed. It is encouraging to note that in the last two-three years, we have reached near self-reliance in production. To achieve this, ICAR and the Department of Agricultural Cooperation have set up 150 seed hubs in different parts of the country and provided seeds of improved varieties to the farmers.
- Livestock Development Research:
- Agricultural scientists have also done remarkable work in livestock development and in triggering the While Revolution in the country. During the period 2014 - 2019, 40 new animal species have been registered and notified. During these five years, ten vaccines have been developed to combat animal diseases, which is 40 percent more than the number of vaccines developed during the period 2009-2014.
- An active surveillance system has also been developed to make India free from Foot and Mouth (FMD) disease by 2024. For this, a temperature tolerant vaccine is being developed. A total of 43 diagnostic kits were developed to diagnose animal diseases between 2014 and 2019, which is 51percent more than the. previous five year period.
- Today our country ranks first in horticultural production. The horticulture sector has emerged as a significant agro-enterprise in giving momentum to the Indian economy.
- This sector has also created many new opportunities for employment generation. The report. of the committee constituted in 2018 to strike measures for doubling the income of farmers, estimated that the volume of horticultural production is expected to reach 451 million tonnes by the year 2022-23. For this, agriculture acreage will have to increase by 2.8 percent and productivity by 3.1percent.
- The ICAR has notified a total of 133 new varieties of horticultural crops during 2019-20 and released them for commercial cultivation. It includes 71 varieties of vegetables, 14 of spices,
- 15 of spice seeds, 5 of potatoes, 18 of tuber fruits, 6 of fruits, and 4 varieties of planting crops.
- The fisheries sector of India is playing a vital role in the country’s economy with a production of 13.4 million tonnes.
- Apart from meeting domestic demand, the country has also earned $7 billion in foreign exchange through fish exports. An online information system has been developed to provide information on various aspects of fish species of India origin.
- The inclination of students towards agricultural courses is increasing day by day in the country. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research and our agricultural colleges have made exceptional progress in agricultural science and agricultural engineering education. New Programmes and modules have been developed from time to time to make agricultural education innovative and employment oriented.
- Agricultural production has become the axis of the country’s economy today. It has long been felt that new reforms should take place in the agriculture sector. The well-known agricultural scientist and the President of the then National Farmers Commission, Prof: M. S. Swaminathan had, in his report, recommended a steady increase in public investment for the agriculture sector, especially for improvement in irrigation, drainage, land development, water conservation, research development, road connectivity and development of agricultural infrastructure.
- The Swaminathan report emphasised on improving the implementation of the minimum support price. The report recommended inclusion of crops other than paddy and wheat in the MSP system. The report also recommended that the minimum support price for the crop be at least 50 percent more than the average cost of production. It is a matter of great pleasure for crores of countrymen engaged in farming that the government has approved the
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Its one lakh crore.
- Encouraging private Investment through this fund will lead to the all-round development of rural areas for agricultural activities across the country. It will prove to be a boon for the rejuvenation of the farm sector and upliftment of farmers.
One Country One Market initiative:
- The Government has taken four landmark decisions in the interest of farmers, which will write new chapters for their future. ‘One Country One Market’ has been introduced and the Mandi Act has been amended so that farmers can get a fair price for their produce. With the implementation of the Farming Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, now farmers can sell their crops anywhere in the country. It is not to exaggerate that the country got independence from the British rule in 1947, but the farmer has got independence with the promulgation of this ordinance.
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020, is also a landmark decision of the Government for the agriculture sector.
- Its main objective is to establish a legal order for agricultural agreements between farmers and sponsors so that farmers get fair and remunerative prices for their products. The system of electronic trade and e-platform for agricultural produce will make the farmers free from the difficulties arising out of physical distances.
- The farmer will now be able to sell his farm produce sitting at his home to the trader in any state where he gets the better price. Farmers have also benefitted with the exemption of the Mandi fee.
- The Government has increased the minimum support prices (MSP) of Kharif crops for the 2020-21 marketing season as per expectations. These prices are fixed by adding a 50 percent to 83 percent profit on the cost of production. Millions of farmers will get direct benefits from this. Since the beginning, it has been the endeavor of the present government that farmers must get at least one and a half times the cost of their produce.
- The Prime Minister has announced setting up of 10 thousand Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) so that agriculture becomes a profitable business all over the country and small farmers get more empowered. It would also facilitate increase in production and productivity, provide a proper marketing platform to farmers and encourage them to venture into the fields of processing and packaging. It is hilarious that we have taken rapid steps in this direction.
- In this, the scientific methodology of traditional agriculture and farming based on modern technology will play an important role.
- It is delightful to know that various branches of agronomy, agro-engineering, and agriculture are working today in a mission mode to bring forth new methodologies, research, and innovations.
- The day is not far when the farmers of our country will play a pivotal role in establishing the agriculture sector of the country as an agricultural industry by using modern technology with a scientific mindset. No doubt, even the highly educated youth of our country will, then, take pride in adopting it as a most sought-after enterprise.