- M. S. Swaminathan
Agriculture is the major source of livelihood for almost half of the population in India. The sector, in the present scenario, is facing issues that have led to the low productivity of crops. The farmers in India are not literate enough to use extensive services which led to poverty, forcing the farmers to commit suicide. Well, can you relate the incident to the poor farmers in Maharashtra?
Dependence on nature and poor irrigation systems are other major concerns. According to the World Bank, the infrastructure in India for irrigation is not competent which implies that there is a need to improve Indian agriculture in the best way possible. Having said this, the role of a common man is predominant in innovating and upgrading Indian agriculture, which is the ‘backbone of India’.
Let us look at some of the ways in which a common man can help to improve Indian agriculture:
Planting trees on farms to increase the yield of crops
Many trees help in fixing the nitrogen in the soil. This aids in protecting the field from water or wind erosion. As a result, the soil gets some organic matter when the leaves drop. It is also seen that such a technique helps in doubling the growth of crop yields. This strategy should not be missed to improve Indian agriculture. So, have you thought of planting trees near the farms which can be of great assistance to the farmers?
Eliminating intermediaries and direct buying from farmers
Farmers are not able to earn much as they do not get the right value for their product which leaves them inefficient to buy new fertilizers and types of machinery. For instance, you might have seen many traders buy wheat at 12 Rs/ kg from farmers and sell it in the market at 25 Rs/kg. To avoid this structure, there should be an initiation of well-planned and organised mechanisms that promote direct purchase from the farmer, at a reasonable rate.
Requesting local government to provide facilities
Whilst there is a requirement of various factors to improving Indian agriculture, one of the major ways is providing the ‘just right’ facilities which are the need of the hour. How do you think will this be possible? You, as a common man can render a helping hand to the farmers by requesting the government to arrange for cold storage, fertilizers, and necessary infrastructure in the nearby agriculture area. A stand against anti-farmer policies by the government can also be encouraged.
Transportation plays a vital role in enhancing the earning potential of farmers. Where there is better transportation, the farm produces such as the fruit and vegetables can be transported to the desired destination, on time. Also, there should be a number of new farm inputs to increase productivity. Also, to enable them to sell their product in markets, villages should be linked with many other vegetable shops which would elevate their income level, considerably. Hence, when there is sufficient income, an urge arises within the farmers to adopt better farm technology and invest in land development.
It is a fact that the quality of input takes a crucial part in crop productivity. But this is also true that it also depends on the irrigation facilities which can bring a new revolution in agriculture. The irrigation facilities can be done in the following ways:
- Canals, tube wells should be built to provide better irrigation facilities for the security of crops
- Dams must be constructed to store water
- Building a reservoir
- Enforcing extensive flood control measures to stop the devastation caused by floods.
A common man can provide help in solving water problems caused by poor irrigation and application methods. But, how can you do it? Well, efficient irrigation can be emphasised amongst farmers by educating them in maintaining the pumps properly by checking for any leaks and keeping an eye on the pumping costs.
Farmers should be aware of adequate credit facilities that are made available at reasonably cheap rates in rural areas which would help them get rid of money lenders. A common man can take an initiative to explain to farmers about the land mortgage banks. Also, the co-operative credit societies should be strengthened to provide loans to the cultivators. Moreover, the integrated schemes of rural credit are implemented today, the awareness of which can be created amidst farmers to help them get the benefit of all these schemes.
Proper Marketing Facilities
To improve Indian agriculture, it is necessary to develop marketing infrastructure. This would be widened and reinforced to help the farmers to sell their products at better prices. A common man can help farmers via arrangements for the unloading of the product in the markets. Added to this, price support policy must be adopted that guarantees at least minimum prices to the peasants.
Educate the farmers
It is time to ponder farmers’ education. How can this happen? It can take its shape if a common man can conduct awareness programs and advise the farmers regarding the adoption of new technology and it’s benefits to uplifting agriculture. They should be given agricultural education and extension services. It can help farmers learn the right way to protect crops which leads to increased crop productivity.
Donating to NGOs working for agriculture welfare
It is not mandatory that only direct help can help the farmers to have a better product. As a common man, an indirect way of assisting like approaching NGOs who work for the up-gradation of Indian agriculture also counts. You can approach them and donate to develop sustainable projects which can improve Indian agriculture. This includes providing equipment, fighting drought, and helping farmers earn their living.
Working upon farmer’s mental health
It is notably disappointing that there is a rapid increase in the number of farmers committing suicide in the past few years due to huge farm debt and natural disasters impacting the production. What can be the contribution of a common man in such a situation? They can discuss the issues faced by the farmers and counsel them on the various means and measures to overcome their depression. Also, the farmers can be taught the reality that farming has its own ups and downs, like any other business. Constant appreciation programs can also boost the mental strength of the ‘sons of the soil’.
To summarise, a proper mix of technology and infrastructure integrated with the common man’s support can do wonders in the agriculture sector. People can take part in policy decisions regarding farming at the local level and can share ways to improve Indian agriculture.
Is it not time that we realise how needful it is, on our part to do the maximum to fortify Indian agriculture?