So, what is delaying action?
Insurance scheme for farmers?
Oh, it looks very fantastic, insurance cover for farmers.
But where is the scheme now?
Mr.Radha Mohan Singh, the Union agriculture minister has spoken on the latest issues that face Indian agriculture. He was speaking at a seminar on national dialogue Innovation extension system for farmer’s empowerment and welfare. The very title of the seminar seems a bit artificial for farm extension is as good as dead in many states as far as we know. Farmers are nowadays more knowledgeable and also very practical. They know when they need help from the agricultural departments and universities.
Many farm extension schemes in the past were either funded by foreign funds, from the USA or other sources. The schemes fold up once the funds dry up. As far as we can see there is no such scheme in TN for instance.
Anyway, let us compliment the minister for he has touched some of the basic issues. He says that one third of the food produced in the world is lost to wastages in production, post-harvest and also in transportation and storage. This amount is enough to fed 2 billion people for a year. So, we know what the minister’s prioriteis. Please start doing things that can prevent the food production.
The minister also says FAO figure that the world needs 60 percent more food to fed the hungry that are now estimated to be at 800 million. Climate change also hits food production decrease to as much as 10-20 per cent by 2050.
So, we are living and passing through challenging times, as far agriculture and food production strategies are concerned.
Instead of protecting the crops it is better to protect the farmers, who are the real stake holders.
Now, Mr.Singh seems to be talking on an insurance scheme. If this is for farmers we will b only too happy to support it. As it is, there is one agriculture insurance scheme but it is not working, as far as we know. Why not publicise the scheme for widely? Anyway, the minister himself had spoken the real challenges. Agriculture is the most exposed activity to flood, drought and even natural disasters like untimely rains, as we saw for instance in Tamil Nadu, in Chennai.
The minister incidentally talked of two extension systems. CAR is one agency. The agency is having no head for a long time, right?
In fact, the ICAR itself needs some reorganisation.
It has to go online and take to IT tools, the use of Internet based information system. There are now many exciting developments in the application of many new tools, it is not appropriate to go into such tools like Twitter, Facebook and Google.
The critical point here is how far the ICAR as an agency dedicated to serve the farmers can deliver information at the doors of the farmers, most of whom now own mobile phones and already are using this mobile technology in many innovative ways.
Vadamalai Media is an agricultural media company in both the print and online media.
We have the world’s largest agri portal (www.agricultureinformation.com).Instead of wasting time and energy we can s ay that please the ICAR visit our site and let us see what sort of purposeful co-operation we can have to deliver information, products and other services through the Internet to all farmers at once!
Yes, there are many technologies; crowd sourcing is one very important one. Farmers who come to the sites for various reasons and requirements can post their ueris and also get immediate responses.
It is better to deploy the private sector efforts to reach out to the farmers for various transactions. On like Stores is an effective tool to reach out the farmers. Some business models are tested and proved successful commercially.
The government can appoint an experts’ panel to advise the government in deploying the latest IT tools and the best practices. Any farmer in distress for instance can give us a missed call and the very cloud sourcing technology enables anyone with knowledge or expertise can respond immediately.
In a vast country like India, it is only advisable we deeply the Internet agriculture practices more widley. That is the way forward.