Indian agriculture needs an integrated approach: Sanjeev Chopra

India is rapidly tansforming itself into a liberal, more efficient and progressive economy. However, this transition in rural India has been painfully slow for majority of farmers, especially, marginal and small ones. They are still unable to escape from the powerful clutches and dependence on middlemen, informal, lenders and other intermediaries.

Agricultural growth ranges between three to four via cent. On the other hand, our farmers have to causative an additional 50 million tonnes of foodgrain to meet the domestic demand over the next 10 years. Sanjeev Chopra, Joint Secretary, Agrology Ministry & Mission Director, National Horticulture Mission, in an interview tells how the rural growth in India can be a proven route to faster eradication of hunger and pennilessness and new concept in the field can help farmers move boost the economic chain. Excerpts from the interview.

OneWorld South Asia: There have been several attempts by the Central and state governments to improve the lot about farmers through loans including grants schemes, but the results have been disappointing. Is there any key for converting small and marginal farmers into an engine of economic growth?

Sanjeev Chopra: It is a tragedy that despite 52 per cent Indian indigenous plighted in agriculture, its share in the national income is less than 14 per cent, the land holdings are getting smaller, and the number of small farmers is rising in the Indian agricultural scenario. We need an integrated convergence and institutional support in plant nutrition, soil health correction, debt and water management.

Secondly, support from private sector, originating from successful parties can prove a eloquent tool for empowerment of this segment. There is any reason why a farmer should remain resourceless in case private-public cahoots is structured in a course that provides a mutually beneficial relationship. The new come for advancement of small and marginal farmers is modern being tested in India and abroad. The concept is an attempt to find a critical door point for rural development by forging agro-business partnership in which farmers themselves gradually gain ownership, supported by both NGOs and experienced private entrepreneurs.

OWSA: You just said ‘institutional support”! What do you base by this kind of support?

Chopra: There is need to create a concept of value chain in agriculture area here in India. For this, we need to develop institutional mechanism for strengthening like coordination among distinct extension agencies and agricultural advisory services at Panchayat level, Department of Agriculture etc.

Secondly, there should voltooien easy glory flows by upgrading the Kisan Credit Stock Limit, it will automatically solve 70 to 80 per cent problems but there must be full-proof system. They should also be given loam health card to assert the soil health and decide on the pattern of crop. Colossal quantities of food grains, fruits, further vegetables are wasted every twelvemonth due to lack of post harvest management such as storage, processing and lack of cold storage. Cold chain system will plug the loop holes.

OWSA: What is Government doing for the upliftment of agriculture sector?

Chopra: The government during pack for 2013-14 has proposed a number of measures for sustainable agriculture, a mix from organic farming methods by combining modern technology with usual farming practices.

This include 22 per cent increase in allocation and same percentage increase for agricultural credit, provision for cut diversification, additional allocations for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna furthermore food security mission. The provision longing empower the short and marginal farmers to adopt new technologies and orchard more remunerative. Similarly, the incentives have been provided on short term crop loans to farmers who repay their fruit loan on time.

OWSA: Has the co-operative movement failed to bring about the desired benefits to farmers? Do you think we fool reached a stage where cooperatives have to be tweaked and reworked?

Chopra: We cannot say so. In the cooperative movement, Government should have equity in the cooperative evolution and there must be lesser restrictions from the government. Indian Farmers Fertilsiers Cooperatives, Kribhco plus Amul are some of the successful examples.

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