@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
New Delhi: National Farmer’s Technology Day was celebrated to commemorate the birthday of late Sharad Joshi (who championed the cause of farmers) with the objective to Reimagine Indian Agriculture and reminding all the stakeholders to battle with menace of Technology fatigue in Farming sector.
On this occasion, All India-Kisan Coordination Committee & Shetkari Sangathna, organised a virtual Zoom meeting to discuss the importance of technology in agriculture and how it will benefit the farmers with high yield. They resolved to do a nationwide campaign if regulatory changes are not brought in favor of the farming community. At this moment spurious and counterfeit pesticides and other agro input is a major cause of worry which is a source of anti- development and terror funding. Trade in counterfeit pesticides undermines the legitimate competitive advantage of rights holders, hampers innovation, farmer’s economy and long-term economic growth. Illicit trade may also ultimately undermine the rule of law and citizens’ trust in government.
Addressing the session was Chief Guest Shri R. G. Agarwal, Group Chairman Dhanuka Agritech Limited, who said, “Farmer Technology Day 2020 aims to explore the responsible application and adoption of existing technologies, design and scale new services, tools and approaches to empower our Farmers.”
He further added, “India’s hectare yield is 2 tons while the rest of the world’s is 3 tons and our PM while speaking at a programme at IARI asked all Scientists to bring the yield at world average level of 3 tons. The
biggest drawback of the agriculture sector is the non-availability of new technology to our farmers in spite of good work done by some scientists in various research institutions and we could not take up that research from lab to land”.
Shri Agarwal went on to add “We can double Indian Farmers income by bringing new innovative technologies for sustainable agriculture production for the food, health, wealth, nutrition and economic security of our country. By integrated approach of all innovative technologies, we can increase productivity to feed growing population of our Nation”.
Also speaking at the session was Shri Bhupinder Singh Mann, Ex-Member of Parliament, and National President – Bharatiya Kisan Union and Chairman All India Kisan Coordination Committee. “We believe that agriculture is one of the world’s oldest sectors, and the economies of many countries still rest squarely on the shoulders of the agricultural sector. We live in a world where technology is at the heart of our everyday lives. Similar to the transforming in other sectors, technology is sure to shape farming practices and can transform Indian agriculture by addressing challenges related to quality, quantity, distribution and storage,” he said.
Highlights of the session:
• Indian institute of Public administration has conducted a study on “Awareness and Problems of Fake Products (Counterfeit) – with Special Reference to Rural Market”. As per the study, 58% Agri Inputs sold in the rural area were found fake and majority of the masses are aware about it. The said study was carried in 9 States and was sponsored by the Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi.
• The criminal network behind this illicit trade activity of spurious Agro-input benefit from these opportunities at the expense of Public safety, farmer’s rights, legitimate business activity and sustainable environmental resources.
• Finance Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman on May 15th 2020, while announcing details on
Rs. 20,00,000 crores package offered by our Hon’ble Prime Minister has announced various packages for the agriculture sector.
• Large opportunities available to increase our GDP from Agriculture sector. If our country is to become a $ 5 Trillion economy, agriculture sector has to play the most important role with increased production.
• Our per-hectare yield of cereal is 2 tons which should be increased to at least 3 tons world-average. Now the time has come that instead of reaching the world average, we should try to achieve the world’s best yield. To quote an example from China, their agriculture area is 128 Mn hectare whereas ours is 142 Mn hectare, while average rainfall is 600 mm in China while we have 1000 mm, but China’s GDP from agriculture is 3 times than our country. As per FAO data of 2016, our GDP from Agriculture was $ 401 Billion, while China’s was $ 991 Billion which itself is a proof of the vast potential in the Agriculture sector in our country.
• Make-in-India led economic growth:
o India’s pesticides consumption is one of the lowest in the world, and, in comparison to China we are far behind. Our yield rate is far below than the global average. India’s pesticides consumption is one of the lowest in the world with per hectare consumption of just 0.6 Kg compared to US (5-7 Kg/ha) and Japan (11-12 Kg/ha). India is a significant exporter of Crop protection chemicals to Developed countries like Japan, USA, Europe, and, our quality has been appreciated.
o At present, our Export is around $ 3 Billion. It can increase upto $ 6 Billion by 2025 by framing right policies.
• Leading representatives from different states of India highlighted their concerns and offered solutions.
• The representative from Kerala, spoke about Land Reforms and the lifting of 6 crop growing regulation. Farmers should be given freedom to grow crops of their choice.
• Support for farmers in the form of timing of importing crops should not clash with harvesting season was highlighted.