India Can Take A Big Leap In Agriculture Sector, Says Nitin Gadkari
Even large landholder farmers’ son prefer to be a bank clerk”. He said it’s very much the fault of neglecting the farmers’ that had put them in such a distress
Union Minister for Road and Public Transport, Nitin Gadkari shared his at the inaugural session of the summit on crop care and doubling farmers’ income - issues, challenges and way forward. Gadkari said, “Even large landholder farmers’ son prefer to be a bank clerk”. He said it’s very much the fault of neglecting the farmers’ that had put them in such a distress.
Chairman of the parliamentary committee for agriculture, Hukumdev Yadav, told BW Businessworld that farmers’ double income is a very much achievable target. Replying to a question on how the government will handle fall in productivity from deteriorating land holding sizes, he said: “This is all the stunt of foreign multinationals to misguide the world about India’s agricultural strength”. He had also suggested that farm loan waiver by states is for immediate relief and permanent solutions will be searched. Gadkari told BW Businessworld that “India can take a big leap in agriculture sector”.
Hukumdev Yadav had urged for the need of connecting, “Gaon-Garib- Mazdoor- Kisan (village, poor, labourer and farmer) for the national prosperity”. He had also quoted Gita (a Hindu mythological text) where agriculture, livestock and all trades benefited via agriculture had been termed as interconnected aspects.
Nitin Gadkari, on the other hand, said, “India’s real issue is the dependency on rain, where diminishing water level plays a huge evil role”. While addressing the audience in the summit for the important role played by road connectivity in villages, Gadkari had quoted former US president JF Kennedy, who once said, “US roads are not good because the US is good, but the US is good because our roads are good”. Gadkari has raised doubts on an output of Indian agriculture scientists to which director general of Indian Council of Agriculture Research, T Mohapatra told BW Businessworld that, “No output from scientists is Gadkari’s personal thought and everyone in India is free to express their views”.
Nitin Gadkari had also emphasised upon the need of entrepreneurial vision in agriculture, he said we can save billions of rupee only if we would have changed our mind set towards agriculture. He had also blamed deteriorating agriculture as a major factor for urban migration in huge numbers which is creating joblessness. Gadkari said, “Using bamboo, sugarcane waste, rice bran and corn waste as well few other similar organic wastes, can lead us making ethanol to power public transport that will save us billions of dollars”. Gadkari was also critical to previous government’s lack of policy initiatives.
The summit started with various inputs, former agriculture secretary of India said that 15 per cent of compound growth for three years can make the dream of doubling farmers’ income very much achievable. He said, “If there are 53 per cent people involved in Indian agriculture, all are not farmers’, he quoted his experience and informed that hardly eight per cent of them are farmers, he had also asked for the need to double the income of real cultivators than land owners”.
Satnam Singh, a farmers’ representative from Punjab had put his views with angst. Satnam said, “We don’t need double income, we only request to give what we deserve and gave the example of Swaminathan commission’s recommendations”. Satnam urged policy makers to act with urgency otherwise, “Who knows how many of us will remain alive to see the change when so many farmers committing suicide” said Satnam.
Many myths had also been proven wrong during brainstorming-Indian Agriculture is not on the decline as India ranks second in the world for agriculture production, while it’s eleventh and twelfth respectively in service and industry sectors. Agriculture’s contribution to GDP is also 17 per cent. India had also faced fall in exports and increase in exports in last three years. (Source: United Nations, World Bank and Tata Strategic Management Group)
India is not food grain centric agriculture, as animal husbandry along with horticulture contributes 60 per cent of the agriculture output. Livestock engages most of the farmers along with farming and plays a critical role in the agricultural economy. (Source: Centre for Environment and Agriculture)
Declining land holding size leads to low production as published in latest United States agriculture department’s food trends report. The counter is that India after China stands second in terms of small landing holding sizes with second highest agriculture producers of the world. Small landing holdings can give freedom of experimenting and can work on small investments, which is a positive sign. (Source: TATA strategic management group)
Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on monsoon, which has been proven wrong as most of the farmers are involved in multitasking like livestock production which is a round the year activity. (Source: World Bank)
Indian farmers’ do most suicides, had been challenged by a group of chemical and fertilisers association. The association said “ Highest number of suicides are committed in Japan due to stress and more than 60 per cent of farmers’ who commit suicide in India, do it due to an addiction of drugs or family issues while less than 10 per cent farmers commit suicide due to agriculture issues.
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