That was one single idea seeking brightness which drove Edison to tirelessly experiment 3000 models of bulbs before he made a perfect one, lighting up the whole earth. The power of ideas is such! Confessing the importance of articulating innovative ideas, The IMoT Forum conducted a Writing Contest as a part of National Farmer’s Day Celebrations this year (2017). The contest encouraged our readers to share their ideas on the ways and means to double farmers’ income by 2022. The pleasing responses from the readers, reinstills our faith in positive activism for the farming community.
Why can’t the producer fix the price for his product?
The spirited contestants have shot their ideas right at the point and have suggested the most pragmatic solutions understanding the down – to –earth issues, like one of the contestants Mr D Balamurugan reasonably asks when the private enterprises fix the price for their farm input products, when the government fixes seed rates, why shouldn’t the farmer be allowed to fix price for his produce? He puts forward the idea to let farmers fix the price for their own produce to double their income. Another participant, Ms M Birundha strikes the right chord saying that though farmers feed both the rich and poor, they still remain poor! She wishes the government would take initiatives in making Farmers’ Producers Association in every district so that the farmers would be able to sell their produce directly to the consumers.
Mr R Babu, one of the competitors, suggests a 7 point formula highlighting the need to fix most appropriate Minimum Support Prices, to increase agriculture funds in the Annual Budget, to eliminate intermediaries, to improve the penetration of regulated markets, to create awareness on Integrated Farming System and Soil Health Card Schemes and to increase the acreage under Organic Farming. Likewise another participant, Mr S Tamil Kumaran expresses his anguish denoting that the farmers are at the peak of distress and proposes his 6 point solution emphasizing the need for marketing channel formalisation, strategizing market – led agriculture, forming farmer producer organisation such that the farmers can brand and sell the product for better prices, providing agri input credits, promoting mixed cropping and extending Minimum Support Prices to millet, pulse and horticultural crops too. One more, Mr Bhharani points out that its too hard to double the farmers income under the current scenario and recommends providing access to efficient irrigation facilities and proper warehousing facilities, also to develop agro irradiation technology preventing post-harvest losses, enhancing e-NAM, Seed Rolling Plan and Crop Insurance programmes and most importantly promoting the knowledge of Scientific Farming. Also, Mr B Prakash suggests the government to increase the godown and warehousing areas along with deep freezing facilities and procure the products directly from farmers.
Making Farming Great Again!
“India was known for its agricultural prosperity, however in recent days agriculture is in pathetic situation” exclaims the participant, Mr R Purushothaman. He puts forward few measures like strengthening the factors of production and making access to these factors much easier, bringing changes in farming systems – promoting integrated farming systems and contract farming, making available the post-harvest infrastructure facilities at a cheap price, refining the APMC Act and holding annual Farmer Festivals which would offer the required rejuvenation.
Similarly, another competitor Ms Shobana is of the view that Natural Farming is the only sustainable solution at any cost. She proposes that natural farming would reduce expenses as local seeds and organic, farm made inputs are used and it would also make additional income as multicropping and Integrated Farming System methods are practised. Diversified farming practises, Precision farming, Cropping based on market requirements, Community farming and Supply Chain Management enabling direct linkage between farmers and industrial buyers would essentially help the farmers double their income states Mr V Gowrishankar.
Supply chain – The Game Changer
Mr Kaviyarasan, a participant writes that Warehouses are the scene changers and access to well-equipped warehouses must be open for all marginal and small farmers. The farmers need to have a say on the price for their produce and when the middlemen attempt exploiting them, instead of giving in, the farmers may resort to store their produce for better prices in the warehouse. He also recommends that the Krishi Vigyan Kendras across the country may take new improved technologies of farming under labour constraints, water constraint conditions, to the farmers. Another, Mr Abhisht Kumar Gaur envisions that more production would resultantly get good value. “Adopting innovative technologies and a shift from Agriculture to Agribusiness would double the farmers income” blurts Mr R Vinoth.
Also, Mr Kuldeep Sharma makes his point that with the use of organic fertilizers, safe pesticides, being aware of weather conditions and by availing the guidance of educated plant doctors the farmers may prosper soon. Mr Shakti Kutty unlocks his idea that providing less cost technologies would help better. In the same way, another competitor Ms Gayathri is of the view that proper technology must be used to make the waste from one quarter translate as the raw material for another quarter in farming. “Price/ Kg must be fixed by one who put his hardwork, dedication and passion in producing it. Further, credits must be made readily available through Kisan Credit Cards” marks a contestant Ms Gowthami Thangavelu. On his take, Mr Manivannan says that farmers’ income could be doubled by introducing Smart Village Schemes – enabling middlemen-free markets, processing units and educating the farmers about the programmes. Also, Mr Alex Isac makes it clear that promoting High Yielding Varieties, Protected cultivation, integrated farming and good agricultural practises, Getting rid of the Middlemen, Improved post-harvest infrastructure and promotion of farmers’ clusters would help farmers double their income for sure.
Tripling farmers’ income!
Another contestant, Mr Karthi Shanmugam takes a different stand. He writes out that the problem of meagre income mostly prevails among the new, non – conventional farmers and comparatively traditional farmers don’t suffer much. He says the traditional farmers have been doing well even in the absence of extension work and he also spells that though the agricultural research has reached its peak, the technologies don’t really reach the farmers even after they turn obsolete! He articulates that successful imparting of identified technologies to the farmers would bear fruits rather than going in for new researches. By this way, he assures the income of farmers to not only double, but triple! Similarly, a participant Mr P Manivel feels the need for specializing every arm of farming like production, protection, marketing etc., imparting awareness to the farmers and he also suggests that there may be new welfare policies to supply inputs at less costs and to abolish middlemen. “As a producer, the farmer must also be encouraged to take up entrepreneurship” he concludes. For Ms L Kiruthika, adoption of modern technologies, gaining awareness about the technologies and use of renewable energy sources in farming would promisingly double farmers’ income. She further says that youth groups serving the purpose of educating farmers and the government’s decisions on Minimum support prices would help them better.
Getting rid of Middlemen
Similarly, Ms C Kiruthika believes marketing reforms alone would be enough to double farmers’ income. Likewise, another competitor, Mr S Saravanakumar keeps his point straight saying that integrated organic way of farming will set things right. “Government mediated elimination of middlemen in markets and free farming consultancy served by educated agriculture graduates in the Department of Agriculture would be of true help” denotes a participant, Mr Gowthaman Natarajan. Ms B Rakavi also has a different take. She says that climate change deteriorates the troubles of farmers and he remains helpless. She wants the farmers to be made aware of the physiological effects his crops bear with and also to know more about the marketing factors. “Along with government schemes, advertising and performance of skits by students in the regional language can guide farmers. I request them to take some important soil health test to improve soil fertility” concludes Ms Rakavi. And, Mr Nallamakula Jaya Bharath draws up a 5 points formula denoting that, establishment of block level government machinery, development of agribusiness centres, making way to reduce brokerage such that 90 percent market price reaches farmers, enabling government transport chains, providing low interest loans and removing political barriers would double the income.
The spark is within!
Our readers have eloquently pointed out all possible solutions to double the troubled farmers’ income. The way-outs suggested are truly attainable, highly practicable and honestly appreciable. A conscious mind is a true asset to the nation. Let our ignited minds together help the country rejuvenate farming and build those glorious days for farmers!