The article focus on the challenges to be faced by government in doubling farmer’s income by 2022 and the measures to be followed.
- The government is desiring and working towards doubling the farmer’s income by 2022. Several measures have been announced in Budget FY17 and by the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare.
- During the run up to the Green Revolution and thereafter, the emphasis was always on production and productivity. Enhancing farmers’ income was not in focus per se.
- Our policies were usually farm-centric and not farmer-centric.
- This is one of the reasons why there is farmers’ distress despite the fact our country has achieved commendable position in food production.
- But we still need to make efforts for achieving the coveted position in productivity in these commodities. The finance minister, in his Budget speech, emphasised that “we need to think beyond food security and give back to our farmers a sense of income security.”
- Historically, there is little evidence that this idea was attempted or even articulated, but in the recent past several states have clearly demonstrated that this is achievable.
- For achieving this objective, we will have to devise micro-level action plans to augment farmers’ income from all sources and not just from crop cultivation.
- We must also take into cognisance that rural demand drives our economy and exports are declining in recent years.
- Farmers’ income can be improved
- If/when productivity goes up,
- If/when the cost of production comes down,
- If/when we ensure agricultural commodities produced get a remunerative price through a transparent price discovery mechanism.
- Improved income from allied activities to agriculture and non-farm sector or even wage employment during the agricultural off season.
- The strategy must integrate them all. All relating agencies must come together and work in harmony.
- Considering that substantial yield gaps exist in major crops and across all regions, we have to leverage technology, adopt precision farming and ensure that farmers get correct and timely crop advisory and market information.
- To simplify, every variety of a crop has a genetic yield potential which can be achieved if a proper agronomic package is adopted.
- There are several ideas being tried to put agricultural extension on digital medium, but a well-coordinated approach harmonising the efforts of traditional institutions is the need of the hour.
- Likewise, irrigation efficiency too has to be addressed. The focus should be on “more crop per drop
- The challenges and the way forward:
- The challenge of climate change is real and there is a crying need to develop a climate-resilient agriculture.
- Cost saving is big issue where the approach should involves developing localised solutions as no universal solution works. Information dissemination must be done using digital technology for extensive outreach.
- Land laws require changes to formalise land leasing practice, in the absence of which term investments are not made by the tillers to enhance production and productivity.
- Infrastructure creation in connectivity, irrigation, marketing, storage, communication, small farm equipment, etc, is also important for reducing cost of production and improving efficiency.
- Information technology can contribute enormously in this endeavour by ushering in efficiency of agricultural markets, better price discovery and, above all, transparency.
- Banks have to finance these measures too. Suitable skill building and enterprise development in the farm and off-farm sector warrants attention.
- It is an opportune time to move beyond income generation from farms and focus on reducing post-harvest losses, explore opportunities in allied sector, food processing both at local and regional levels, and off farm income complementarities.
- Doubling farmers’ income needs funds at institutional level as well as at enterprise level, for which a robust institutional credit flow mechanism is a must.
- We have to create a healthy credit environment by enhancing access to credit through technology in an equitable manner.
- Our resource-scarce farming community such as small and marginal farmers, tenant farmers, share croppers, etc, and farmers in east, centre and northeast regions deserve special attention.
Question:we will have to devise micro-level action plans to augment farmers’ income from all sources and not just from crop cultivation. Why we have not been able to increase farmers income as yet. What policy measures can be taken to correct this situation.
- Reasons for low farmer income.
- Challenges to be faces.
- Policy measures to correct the situation.