Creating Well Informed Farmers
Farmers - beginners and experienced - are critical to creating rural prosperity. In India, farmers are highly vulnerable to the impacts of a variable climate. Current and projected changes in temperature, precipitation, and the frequency of extreme events such as droughts and floods, threaten the sector's ability to meet country's goals for food security and economic growth. Furthermore, Indian farmers lack access to timely, user-friendly climate and weather information that would help them make well-informed decisions about when to plant, what to plant, how to manage pests, and what kinds of fertilizer and other inputs to use. By creating an atmosphere conducive to foster learning and providing information to the farmers, India can help farmers make crop management decisions that result in increased revenue per hectare or acre farmed.
Farmers face unique challenges and require education and training to ensure their success. This will help farmers to incorporate the latest scientific advances and technology tools into their daily operations. The results of enhancing their operations with these tools increases efficiency and can also lead to:
- Less harm to the environment
- Reduced food contamination
- Reduction of the need for water and chemicals for crops
- Increased profits
Helping farmers to make their own decisions is a difficult and slower process but, in the long run, it will be more successful than trying to tell farmers what to do. To make decisions, farmers must be well informed. They need to know what choices they have in order to improve their productivity and profitability, which is coupled with the growth of their region.
The government is also working alongside the farmer community to help them to keep pace with changing times and situation.
Various measures taken by the central and state governments from time to time, some of them are:
- The government announced minimum support price for various crops removing the elements of uncertainty. It ensures minimum price for the crop grown by the farmers.
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) is being implemented with a view to promoting organic farming in the country. This will improve soil health and organic matter content and increase net income of the farmer so as to realize premium prices.
- Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme by which the farmers can know the exact nutrient level available in their soils which will ensure judicious use of fertilizer application and save money.
- Neem Coated Urea is being promoted to regulate use urea, enhance its availability to the crop and cut on cost. The entire quantity of domestically manufactured is now neem coated.
- Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) is another innovative scheme to expand cultivated area with assured irrigation, reduce wastage of water and improve water use efficiency.
- National Crop Insurance Scheme will protect the interest of farmers with a broader coverage towards crop losses and other such natural calamities.
- Other measures taken for the benefit of the farmers include enhancement in the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) to eliminate distress sale of agricultural produce by farmers, support to the farmers from time to time like debt waiver/relief, interest subvention on crop loans, revival package for strengthening Short Term Rural Cooperative Credit Structure, etc.
The one change that we need to incorporate in the life of the farmer is the skill of adapting to new technology (inputs and machinery), opening of the minds and hearts of the farmers to development (theirs and the nation's). The crux of this topic is to highlight that farmers are willing to try new methods and technology backed products. Their focus is now shifting from chemical oriented farming to organic cultivation. It may be a slow process, but I as an entrepreneur and eventually a consumer believe that Residue Free is the last option we need to resort to.