RC Shakywar, Dinesh Sah, M Pathak, BM Singh and AK Pandey
Contd from previous issue
Roadmap and Action Plan
The quantitative framework for doubling farmer’s income has identified seven sources of growth. These are:
v Increase in productivity of crops.
v Increase in production of livestock.
v Improvement in efficiency of input use (cost saving).
v Increase in crop intensity.
v Diversification towards high value crops.
v Improved price realization by farmers.
v Shift of cultivators to nonfarm jobs.
The low level of farmers’ income and year to year fluctuations in it are a major source of agrarian distress. This distress is spreading and getting severe over time impacting almost half of the population of the country that is dependent on farming for livelihood. Persistent low level of farmer’sincome can also cause serious adverse effect on the future of agriculture in the country. To secure future of agriculture and to improve livelihood of half of India’s population, adequate attention needs to be given to improve the welfare of farmers and raise agricultural income. Achieving this goal will reduce persistent disparity between farm and nonfarm income, alleviate agrarian distress, promote inclusive growth and infuse dynamism in the agriculture sector. Respectable income in farm sector will also attract youth towards farming profession and ease the pressure on nonfarm jobs, which are not growing as per the expectations.
Doubling farmers’ income by 2022 is quite challenging but it is needed and is attainable. Three-pronged strategy focused on (i) development initiatives (ii) technology and (iii) policy reforms in agriculture is needed to double farmer’s income.
v The rates of increase in sources underlying growth in output need to be accelerated by 33 per cent to meet the goal.
v The country need to increase use of quality seed, fertilizer and power supply to agriculture by 12.8, 4.4 and 7.6 per cent every year.
v Area under irrigation has to be expanded by 1.78 million hectare and area under double cropping should be increased by 1.85 million hectare every year.
v Besides, area under fruits and vegetables is required to increase by 5 per cent each year.
v In the case of livestock, improvement in herd quality, better feed, increase in artificial insemination, reduction in calving interval and lowering age at first calving are the potential sources of growth.
Research institutes should come out with technological breakthroughs for shifting production frontiers and raising efficiency in use of inputs. Evidence is growing about scope of agronomic practices like precision farming to raise production and income of farmers substantially. Similarly, modern machinery such as laser land leveller, precision seeder and planter and practices like SRI (System of rice intensification), direct seeded rice, zero tillage, raised bed plantation and ridge plantation allow technically highly efficient farming. However, these technologies developed by the public sector have very poor marketability. They require strong extension for the adoption by farmers. R & D institutions should also include in their packages grassroots level innovations and traditional practices which are resilient, sustainable and income enhancing.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Central Agricultural Universities and State Agricultural Universities should develop models of farming system for different types of socio economic and bio physical settings combining all their technologies in a package with focus on farm income. This would involve combining technology and best practices covering production, protection and post-harvest value addition for each sub systems with other sub systems like crop sequences, crop mix, livestock, horticulture, forestry etc. such shift requires interdisciplinary approach to develop on knowledge of all disciplines.
About one third of the increase in famers’ income is easily attainable through better price realization, efficient post-harvest management, competitive value chains and adoption of allied activities. This requires comprehensive reforms in market, land lease and rising of trees on private land. Agriculture has suffered due to absence of modern capital and modern knowledge. There is a need to liberalize agriculture to attract responsible private investments in production and market. Similarly, Farmer’s Produce Organizations (FPOs) and Farmer’s Produce Companies (FPCs) can play big role in promoting small farm business. Ensuring minimum support prices (MSP) alone for farm produce through competitive market or government intervention will result in sizeable increase in farmer’s income in many states.
Most of the development initiatives and policies for agriculture ae implemented by the States. States invest much more than the outlay by the Centre on many developmental activities, like irrigation. Progress of various reforms related to market and land lease are also State subjects. Therefore, it is essential to mobilize States and UTs to own and achieve the goal of doubling farmer’s income. If concerted and well-coordinated efforts are made by the Centre and all the States and UTs, the Country can achieve the goal of doubling farmer’s income by the year 2022.
The writers are from College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agricultural University, Pasighat-791102, Arunachal Pradesh, India.
*Krishi Vigyan Kendra, East Siang, College of Horticulture and Forestry, Central Agricultural University, Pasighat – 791102, Arunachal Pradesh, India.
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