Wednesday, September 16, 2015

short term and long term measures to fix India’s agriculture failures

India’s agriculture success story in ensuring food security and self-sufficiency is phenomenal and inspiring for many poor and emerging nations of the world.
At the same time, it is, probably, the only sector that has uncountable issues and structural weaknesses. The ever increasing population, climate change, and dependence on it make agricultural reforms imminent.
Short-term measures:
1. “Lab-to-Land” initiative must educate the farmers of the use of latest technology that is production cost cutting.EG: Tamil Nadu Model
2. “Priority sector lending” of banks must be Aadhar (or robust identity) based to eliminate duplication and targeted lending. Eg:Andhra Pradesh Model.
3. “Wrong crops” that are not suitable to the local climate and irrigation capacity must be discouraged. They demand heavy fertilizers application. Eg: Cotton in Telangana and Sugarcane in Vidharba region.
4. “Decentralized panchayat initiatives” like pond management, canal maintenance, improving local water use efficiency, traditional water harvesting methods and agri-produce storage facilities promotion must be encouraged.Eg: Punjab initiatives.
5. Gram Sabha based authenticated data collection to computerize and identify beneficiaries for various government policies. Eg:Malkangiri of Odisha
Long-term measures:
1. Expansion of formal credit financing through banks to the village level.
2. Building robust network of forward and backward linkages that benefit agriculture and agri-based industries too.
3. National Agricultural Market creation to better market the produce.
4. Devising crop insurance policies that are region and climatic specific (specifically for Vidharba, Telangana,Northern Karnataka).
5. Implementing Shanta Kumar Committee suggestions related to FCI procurement.
6. Following MS Swaminathan MSP+50% formula and “Ever Green Revolution” with “per drop more crop”.
Strong growth driven agriculture sector complements the government’s efforts towards manufacturing too by contributing quality agro-based industries inputs.

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