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    India at 75: A journey from growing more food to smartly growing it

  • Date : 11 August, 2022

     The fearsome Bengal famine happened just four years before Independence in the midst of World War II. Now that India will complete 75 years as an independent nation, the occasion calls for many celebrations, one of which is the transformation agriculture has undergone since then. 

    The period since 1947 can be classified into two. The first is the years when India, immediately after Independence, faced food shortages and limited avenues to raise production. 
    Its rising population and their growing food demand meant a hand-to-mouth situation for most and the country had to implore other nations to feed its people. 
    Thereafter, what followed was a technological miracle ably supported by government policies, scientists, and hardworking Indian farmers. It came to be known as the Green Revolution. 
    And from a country that faced shortages, India, in the decades that followed the Green Revolution, became one of the leading agricultural producers of the world and a net exporter of key farm items. The effect of Green Revolution technology and other aspects of the agricultural strategy and policy are that the per capita production of food in the country has more than doubled in the past 50 years, despite a 237 per cent increase in population. 
    But now agriculture faces a different set of challenges. 
    Production or growing food isn’t that much of a problem, but how to grow it smartly using less natural resource while ensuring that growers of food are adequately remunerated is a bigger challenge. 
    “Significant and sustained increase in farmers’ income and transformation of agriculture require a paradigm shift in approach,” wrote Ramesh Chand, NITI Aayog member and one of the country’s foremost agricultural economists, in a recent paper titled “Agricultural Challenges and Policies for the 21st Century” in association with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development. 
    “Changes in archaic regulations and liberalisation of the sector are a must ... Advancement in science-led technology, an enhanced role of the private sector in both pre- and post-harvest phases, liberalised output markets, active land lease markets and emphasis on efficiency will equip agriculture to address the challenges of the 21st century ..,” Chand said. 
    He said well-coordinated action and strategy between the Centre and the states was needed to ensure that agriculture moved to the next stage of development. 
    “The indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and weedicides, expansion of irrigation, and crop specializations favouring a few crops, which were the main sources of growth of agriculture post-Green Revolution, played havoc with natural resources, environment and ecology. Heavy subsidy and free supply of power for irrigation led to reckless, indiscriminate and overuse of water, and brought serious distortions in crop choices,” he said. 
    “In most of the crops, increase in productivity has been accompanied by an increase in average cost of production …,” the paper said. 
    Agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, along with Devesh Kapur and Marshall M Bouton, wrote in a working paper on “Reforming Indian Agriculture” the long-term future of Indian farmers depended on getting many people out of farming. 
    “Ironically, that future will come about more reliably if policies to improve agricultural production and incomes are pursued today,” the writers said. 
    Gulati and others are of the view that growth and employment opportunities outside agriculture were critical for long-term improvements in farmers’ incomes. 
    “Relentless population pressures have meant that most Indian farms are too small to provide viable incomes”, the paper said. 
    So, unless policies are pursued to address the problems facing Indian agriculture holistically, the sector would find it difficult to meet the challenges of a new India. 
    Source: Business Standard 


A tribal woman farmer showing lights on ornamental fisheries

26 Apr 2024

Dipali Mahato
Ornamental fishery farmer

Name : Dipali Mahato

Designation : Ornamental fishery farmer

Name : Mr Anil Ghanwat

Designation : President, Shetkari Sanghatana

Name : Dr Bindu R. Pillai

Designation : Acting Director and Head, Aquaculture Production and Environment Division, ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture

Name : Dr O.P. Yadav

Designation : Director, ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur

Name : Ravishankar C.N.

Designation : Director, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (ICAR-CIFT)



10 Apr 2024

Telecommunications Engineering Centre & ICAR release joint technical report

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