Karnataka Agri Minister orders review of agri reserch
Indian agri research establishment is a huge body, its network extending the whole of India. Almost all the States have one agri university, some like Maharashtra more than one university. All these five and half decades India had done well in agri sector. There are number of sectors in which India is number one or in a strong position. For instance rice, wheat, milk, sugar to give in competition to foreign countries.
But now what is the problem? The Karnataka Agriculture Minister H.K.Patil had announced a panel of experts to find out whether the Rs.550 crores the State had spent on the two agri universities had done the job. The Minister had pointed out the stagnition in agri production, low yield in rain-fed areas. There are gapping holes in the lab-land strategy. Is the money worth spent? The Minister didn’t mince his words. The researches are done for the thesis for publication in international journals, rather then for immediate application. The panel in two months would submit its report finding out whether research helps the farming community. We in this journal welcome the Minister’s action as timely. We urge all agri Ministers in their respective States to do such a self-appraisal. On the Science Day, many scientists, U.R.Rao, M.S.Swaminathan had spoken about what are the problems.
But they have no practical solutions! Grassroots development, says Rao, Fine. But why we haven’t done it so far? 25 per cent people are only having safedrinking water supplies, says Rao and Swaminathan. Why we are not able to provide safe drinking water even for one metropolitan city? So says the CEO of Urban Infrastructure Finance Corporation. M.S.Swaminathan had given the two major political parties his agenda for eradicating hunger in the next few years. The parties responded, he says. Fine.
But the Central Government in appointing a new Commission, is giving away its real intentions. How to prolong to draw up an immediate action plan for the agri sector. We say : Consult the farmers. Consult the experts. Consult the technology, infrastructure and practical farmers leaders. Market driven, partly helped by the State, the thrust market-driven towards creating more jobs in the countryside, more wealth creating by innovative development models. IT should contribute, new sectors like food processing, SSIs are capable of generating jobs, wealth and value in agriculture.
This is not simple platform talk! We need a basic new strategy for the agriculture issues of today. Second Green Revolution is not the answer. Environment issues are now a high priority, isn’t it so? So, we need a multi-facetd development strategy. A pro-market, pro-privatisation, public-privte participation development models in agriculture are the way forward.
We need an Agriculture Agenda Task Force, as in the case of the Bangalore city Development Agenda, involving the private sector and the State governments and the end-users, farmers and entrepreneurs, say, for instance, in developing the agri export zones. In this country our mindset is still pro-government. This mindset must give way to the new economy models, IT driven delivery of a range of services, to online trade in agri commodities and services.
Vadamalai had put up a website, in its third year, is already acting as a global business portal for agriculture. There are so many innovative ways in which value creation and wealth creation in agri sector could be accelerated.