MSSRF Lecture

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M S Swaminathan Research Foundation The Hindu Media Resource Centre New Year Lecture Serving Farmers and Saving Farming Chennai, 2 January 2007 Prof M S Swaminathan

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“Economic growth has failed to be sufficiently inclusive, particularly after mid-1990s. Agriculture lost its growth momentum from that point on and subsequently entered a near crisis situation, reflected in farmer suicides in some areas” Approach Paper to the XI Five Year Plan December 2006

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Making the Era of Farmers’ Suicides History In the agrarian distress hotspots, there is need for a paradigm shift from “Suicide Relief” to “Life-saving Support” for suicide prevention. This is the pathway to providing every farm and landless labour family with an opportunity for a productive and healthy life. The Farmer suicide tragedy has several dimensions – economic distress and despair, breakdown of social and State support systems and psychological nightmare. The response to this situation has also to be multi-dimensional, with priority going to mitigating economic distress

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Five Point Strategic Approach Saving the Living: Immediate attention to the livelihood needs of widows and education and employment needs of children should be the first priority Ending the “debt death”: Immediate action has to be in the form of loan and interest waiver. This has to be done with care and after discussion with the affected families and local panchayats, so that the family again becomes creditworthy Reform of farm credit with regard to rate of interest, adopting credit cycle approach of 4-5 years and including health and consumption needs Revamp the agricultural insurance system and make it effective and affordable Contd…

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Strengthening Livelihood and Income Security: Proper and timely advice on land use planning and choice of technologies Steps to provide crop life saving irrigation Strengthen the coping capacity to withstand the shock of crop failure or collapse of prices Integrated on-farm and non-farm livelihood strategy: Provide multiple livelihood opportunities like the rearing of livestock such as dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats etc., as well as non-farm occupations in areas such as biomass utilization and post-harvest technology Assured and Remunerative Market: Prices received by farmers for their produce should be atleast 50% more than the cost incurred. As a single step, assured and remunerative prices for farmers’ commodities will help end the “debt deaths”. Price destabilising imports from countries with very heavy subsidies to farmers should be reviewed Contd…

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Life Saving Social Support and Security: The Gram Sabha and Panchayat can develop a collective security system designed to prevent suicides. The Agricultural Universities should form Hope Generation Teams to stay for sometime in the villages and help the farmers in adopting low risk and stable income technologies. The Government should develop and introduce a Social Security System for farm families, on the lines recommended by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector Reinforcing the Psychological Strength: There is need for psychosocial measures which will spread the “we shall overcome” spirit. Gyan Chaupals can become counseling and hope instilling Centres. A cadre of young women and men (Youth for Life Corps) who are well versed with counseling procedures, who can help to bring some hope and cheer in the families plunged in darkness and despair, may be formed on the NSS model by a Consortium of Universities and Social Science Institutions in the suicide hotspots

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Outlay for Irrigation Sector Needed : A “Dream Budget” for Agriculture in February 2007 VI Plan (1980-85) Growth rate in agriculture 5.7%; GDP Growth Rate 5.5% “Everything else can wait, but not Agriculture” Jawaharlal Nehru, 1947 We reap as we sow

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Revised Draft National Policy for Farmers Fifth & Final Report – Contents Do not measure agricultural progress merely in statistical terms, but mainstream the human dimension in all agricultural programmes and strategies

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To improve the economic viability of farming by ensuring that farmers earn a “minimum net income”, and ensure that agricultural progress is measured by the advance made in improving that income. To mainstream the human and gender dimension in all farm policies and programmes and give explicit attention to sustainable rural livelihoods. To complete the unfinished agenda in land reforms and to initiate comprehensive asset and aquarian reforms. To develop and introduce a social security system and support services for farmers. To protect and improve the land, water, biodiversity and climate resources essential for sustained advances in the productivity, profitability and stability of major farming systems by creating an economic stake in conservation. To foster community-centred food, water and energy security systems in rural India and to ensure nutrition security at the level of every child, woman and man. Revised Draft National Policy for Farmers 10 Major Goals Contd…

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To introduce measures which can help attract and retain youth in farming by making it both intellectually stimulating and economically rewarding, by conferring the power and economy of scale to small and marginal farmers both in the production and post-harvest phases of farming. To strengthen the biosecurity of crops, farm animals, fish and forest trees for safeguarding both the work and income security of farmer families, and the health and trade security of the nation. To restructure agricultural curriculum and pedagogic methodologies for enabling every farm and home science graduate to become an entrepreneur and to make agricultural education gender sensitive. To make India a global outsourcing hub in the production and supply of the inputs needed for sustainable agriculture, and products and processes developed through Biotechnology and Information and Communication Technology. 10 Major Goals

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For the purpose of this Policy, the term “farmer” will refer to both men and women, and include landless agricultural labourers, sharecroppers, tenants, small, marginal and sub-marginal cultivators, farmers with larger holdings, fishers, livestock and poultry rearers, pastoralists, small plantation farmers, as well as rural and tribal families engaged in a wide variety of farming related occupations such as apiculture, sericulture and vermiculture. The term will include tribal families sometimes engaged in shifting cultivation and in the collection and use of non-timber forest products. Farm and Home Science Graduates earning their livelihoods from crop and animal husbandry, fisheries and agro-forestry will have their rightful place in the world of farmers and farming. The gender-specific needs of women in each category will also be recognized. Definition

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Green Revolution Symphony (1968) Technology Services Public Policies Farmers’ enthusiasm Indian farmers achieved as much progress in wheat production in four years (1964–68), as during the preceding 4000 years. Urgent Need: Pan-GoI and State Government efforts

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Assets - Land Complete the unfinished Agenda on Land Reforms Review land lease policies Prime Farm Land must be conserved to safeguard food and livelihood security as well as national sovereignty; set up technical Committee at the State level to earmark zones for industrial activity including SEZ, based on the biological potential of the land for farming Land Acquisition Act – Review Formula for calculating compensation Land for the Landless – Emulate Tamil Nadu example Provide homesteads associated with rural houses Implement Mohan Dharia Committee’s recommendations on wasteland development “Despite many accomplishments of mankind, we owe our existence to a six-inch layer of top soil and the fact that it rains” – Confucius (551-479 BC)

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Assets - Water Supply augmentation – mandatory water harvesting and aquifer recharge Participatory Demand Management Water use efficiency – harness water-crop and variety-nutrients- implements synergy Water Quality management National Rainfed Authority Drought Code Flood Code Good Weather Code Computer simulation models on alternative cropping strategies and compensatory production programmes

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Proactive Advice on Land and Water Use Organise National and State Land Use Advisory Services based on integration of data from meteorological, ecological and marketing factors Just as grain reserves are essential for food security, seed reserves are essential for crop security Technical advice to prevent losses from failed tube wells – use of Remote Sensing Data Priority attention to the crops covered under the National Horticulture Mission and Bio-fuel programme, particularly with reference to good quality seeds and planting material

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Water Year (2007-08) Focal Theme : More income per drop of water 5000 Farmer-Participatory Action Research programmes in the fields of small farmers, at the rate of one village in every block of the country 50 Agricultural Universities, WALMIS and other institutions to take up 100 projects each and also undertake the following tasks Empower Gram Sabhas with the necessary knowledge to enable them to discharge the functions of Pani Panchayats Establish a Gyan Chaupal in collaboration with the CSC (Common Service Centre) programme of the Dept. of Information Technology and launch a Water Literacy Movement Train one woman and one male member of each Panchayat as Water Masters

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Assets - Livestock National Livestock Development Council: to give integrated attention to all aspects of the sector: breeding, fodder and feed, healthcare, marketing, value addition, meat and animal energy Livestock Feed and Fodder Corporation at the State level as facilitating agency for ensuring availability of quality fodder and feed Poultry to be declared as an agricultural activity Establish Living Heritage Gene Banks of local breeds of farm animals in State Farms

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Assets - Fisheries Aquarian Reform: National Fisheries Development Board to prepare guidelines for both inland and coastal waters ‘Fish for All’ Training and Capacity Building Centres (capture/culture to consumption) Quality and trade Literacy Support Services Agro-aqua farms for sea water farming : Bioshield-cum-prawn farming

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Assets – Bioresources Plant Varieties Protection and Farmers’ Rights Act & Biodiversity Act Safeguarding and strengthening the multiple roles of farmers as: Conserver Cultivator Breeder Legal Literacy Genome Saviour Award for Farmer Conservers

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Promote an integrated rural energy security system Harness renewable energy such as biogas, wind, solar and bio-fuels Increase the technology component in the Jatropa programme, including the choice of high oil content genetic stains Promote decentralised energy generation through pyrolysis and biomass gasification Ensure the reliability and quality of electricity supply to farmers Energy Security

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H5N1 Strain of Avian Flu – wake up call Strengthen biosecurity infrastructure and capacity National Agricultural Biosecurity System with three mutually reinforcing components: National Agricultural Biosecurity Council National Centre for Agricultural Biosecurity National Agricultural Biosecurity Network Strengthen sanitary and phytosanitary measures and set up an off-shore quarantine station, both to prevent the introduction of invasive alien species, and to identify resistance genes in native livestock / poultry Agricultural Biosecurity

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Nature, 26 October 2006 Biosecurity : Spread of Whitefly through imported Poinsettia

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Bird Flu outruns the vaccines The H5N1 virus has evolved into a new strain, and this time nearly three times as many birds are infected in China New Scientist, 4 November 2006

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Science and Technology Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Information and Communication Technology (Common Service Centres and Gyan Chaupals) Space Technology Precision Farming Ground Water Use Soil Health Cards Crop Care Consortium at Block level Implements – Agri-business Centres for custom hiring of farm machinery Productivity and competitiveness enhancement especially through value addition and prevention of post harvest losses. Professionalise the management of Technology Missions

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One woman and one male member of Panchayats to be trained as Farm Science Managers Self-help Groups capacity building and Mentoring Centres Science and Farming : Grassroots Action and Preparedness

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Develop computer simulation models on potential changes in temperature, precipitation and sea level Develop adaption and mitigation measures Promote climate literacy based on vulnerability analysis Develop alternative cropping strategies based on different weather probabilities Climate Change

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Bioshield : Mangrove species Excoecaria agallocha Prepare for Sea-level Rise

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Credit and Insurance Need for a Credit Policy for small farm agriculture NABARD – time to review its mandate, role and business model; NABARD of the 21st Century with focus on farmers Need to improve outreach of the banking system and make credit hassle free, timely, adequate and flexible Credit cooperatives – Revitalise and implement Vaidyanathan Committee Report Expand scope of Agriculture Insurance Policies – should cover health insurance also (Parivar Bima Policy); Seed Companies to provide Insurance for GM crops Credit and Insurance Literacy Agriculture Risk Fund to insulate farmers from risks and crops failure due to aberrant weather conditions.

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Credit 4% interest 4-5 year Credit Cycle in drought prone areas Financial Inclusion – antyodaya principle (a beginning is being made in Wardha District) Credit and insurance literacy (hardly 4% of farmers are participating in insurance programmes) Set up a Rural Insurance Development Fund

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Extension, Training and Knowledge Connectivity Farm Schools in the fields of outstanding farmers and farmer award winners to promote farmer to farmer learning Restructure and reorient KVKs as Krishi aur Udyog Vigyan Kendras Gyan Chaupals and CSC Programme Village Resource Centre (VRC) at Block Level Village Knowledge Centre (VKC) at village level Last mile and last person connectivity – Internet – FM Radio / Cell phone synergy ATMA and extension services Harnessing mass media – radio, television and local language newspapers – Regional Media Resource Centres

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Krishi Vigyan Kendras in the 21st Century Goal: Develop KVKs into Krishi aur Udyog Vigyan Kendras (KUVK) to help enhance on-farm and non-farm income and employment Farm Universities / ICAR and CSIR Institutes / Private Sector R & D/ NGOs Krishi aur Udyog Vigyan Kendra Production Technology Natural Resources Conservation and Enhancement; Soil, Water, Biodiversity Post-harvest Technology Panchayati Raj Institutions: Farm Science Managers (1 woman and 1 man In each Panchayat) Farm Schools (in the fields of farmer-achievers) Farmer-Participatory Action Research Programmes (eg, More income per drop of water) Gyan Chaupals (Village Resource Centre and Village Knowledge Centre) Financial Institutions Self-help groups Linkages

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Educational Institutions Community Radio Internet Radio - Synergy Cable Radio Last Mile and Last Person Connectivity

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Social Security Health Occupational Hazards Life Insurance Old Age Pension Rs.1500 per month to fisher families during the closed season At the very minimum, adapt Arjun Sengupta Commission’s recommendations for the unorganised sector, for farmers.

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Support Services for Women in Agriculture In 2004-05, women accounted for 34% principal and 89% of subsidiary workers in agriculture Women suffer from a multiple burden on their time The NREGP should enlarge the concept of work in the case of women by including activities like running creches and child care centres, preparing noon meals in schools, undertaking immunisation of children and providing family planning services A Gram Panchayat Mahila Fund should be established to meet gender-specific needs Credit including the issue of Kisan Credit Card, insurance, technology delivery and marketing should be engendered Strengthen the role of women in the National Horticulture Mission

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Lessons from the Crisis in Rainfed Cotton Bridge the growing gap between cost of production and output price Cost of production of H-6 variety (2002-03) – Rs.2358/- per quintal MSP announced by CACP – Rs. 1875/per quintal MSP is almost 20 to 30% lower than the cost of production Maharashtra Government Report

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Assured and Remunerative Marketing Calculation of Minimum Support Price (MSP) – Cost [C2] + at least 50% Procurement price (MSP + Cost escalation) Issue of Smart Cards with specific entitlements to farmers who contribute to “Making Hunger History” movement Implementation of MSP throughout the country Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) Universal Public Distribution System (PDS) and enlarge the Food Basket to include maize, jowar, bajra and millets Commission on Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) – Autonomous, Statutory body Net take home income of Farmers – VI Pay Commission to study as background information Indian Single Market Price Stabilisation Fund

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Strengthening the Coping Capacity of Farmers In the context of an uncertain international trade environment farmers can be protected from international price fluctuations by : A judicious mix of farmer-friendly trade and foreign policies, including the effective use of the provisions for special products and special safeguard mechanisms Enhancement of productivity and competitiveness Greater attention to quality, reliability and consistency Promotion of domestic demand Establishment of an Indian Trade Organization(ITO)

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Goal: Every Scholar an Entrepreneur Mainstream Business Management in all applied courses, e.g. Seed Technology and Business Home Science Colleges to be developed into Colleges of Human Sciences Regional Institutes on Food Safety and Security All India Agricultural Council – Registered Farm Practitioners Centres of Excellence (Agricultural IITs and IIMs) Government Programme on ‘Youth for Leadership in Farming’ India should strive to become a leading outsourcing hub in areas relating to agricultural biotechnology, ICT and special products like organic and health foods. National Association of Genome Entrepreneurs Education for Agriculture in the 21st Century

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Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recogniton of Forest Rights) Bill, 2006 Pastoralists Plantation Labour Island Farmers Urban Farmers Home/Community Nutrition Gardens set up by individual / urban SHGs Special Categories of Farmers

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Organic Farming Green Agriculture Genetically Modified Crops Protected Agriculture (green houses, fertigation), particularly in areas where evaporation exceeds precipitation Certification for Organic Farming and Green Agriculture Products Promote Private-private Partnership Special Categories of Farming

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According to NSS data (2003), average total income of farmer households with upto 2 ha land, was less than 80% of their consumption expenditure Methods of increasing Farmers’ Income: Cooperative Farming and Service Cooperatives Group Farming by SHGs Small Holders’ Estates Contract Farming – Monitoring Committee at the State Level to prevent unequal trade bargain Farmers’ Companies State Farms Farming Systems – diversification and value addition based on market demand Farmers of the 21st Century : Conferring the economy and power of scale on small producers

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Hybrid Arhar Villages : Pathway to a Pulses Revolution Rain water harvesting Hybrid Seed Production by SHGs Commercial Cultivation

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Rural Non-Farm Livelihood Initiative Rural India is confronted with declining share of agricultural GDP, worsening per capita farm and non-farm income ratio, decline in profitability of agriculture during the 1990s and less than 1 % growth in rural employment between 1993-94 and 1999-2000. Need: Integrated on-farm and non-farm employment generation through a pan-GoI programme to establish Rural Business Hubs on the lines of China’s Township & Village Enterprise (TVE) programme

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Growth in Non-farm Employment opportunities Need for training in non-farm livelihood opportunities such as value addition to biomass and agro-processing Rice Farming Families: Percentage of Income

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Attracting and Retaining Youth in Farming Establish Genius Awards for young scientists to attract talented youth to agricultural research, technology development and education. Promote Genome Entrepreneurs, to undertake genome mapping work on behalf of other countries / private sector Aim to become a global agricultural outsourcing hub in the areas of BT, IT, Seed Technology (e.g. seed potato, tissue culture propagated plants) Producer Companies of Farm graduates could be formed to undertake production of organic foods, bio-fuels, biofertilizers, botanicals, hybrid and other good quality seeds and other products and undertake outsourcing jobs both from within and outside the country

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Panchayati Raj Institutions Empower the elected Members to implement the provisions of Article 243 G Mobilise the 1.2 million elected women members for improving the quality of life in villages Train 1 woman and 1 man in every Panchayat as Farm Science Managers (emulate the Andhra Pradesh model)

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Hunger-free India Seven Point Action Plan: Reform nutrition delivery systems on a whole life cycle basis Introduce a universal public distribution system and enlarge the basket of grains included in PDS, eg., ragi, bajra, jowar and maize Foster Community Grain Banks and Community Food and Water Security Systems Eradicate hidden hunger through a food cum fortification approach Enhance the productivity and profitability of small holdings (66% of consumers are members of farm and fisher families) Promote opportunities for new non-farm livelihoods and provide a new deal to the rural self-employed Introduce a Food Guarantee Act combing the features of NREGP and Food for Work programmes

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National Food Security and Sovereignty Board In a country with a high prevalence of poverty and malnutrition, the Government of India should always retain a commanding position in the management of the food security system. Keeping inflation under check by making essential commodities available in adequate quantities and at affordable prices must be a national resolve Income security for farmers is the pathway to the food security of the Nation

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The ‘fertile crescent’ (Punjab, Haryana, Western UP) is in a state of ecological and economic crisis. This area constitutes the main anchor of our PDS and food security system - Launch a Conservation Farming and Green Agriculture Movement Eastern India, particularly Bihar, Eastern UP, Chattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam, are well endowed with water resources. They have a large untapped yield reservoir. This region can become another fertile crescent, if a synergetic package of technology, services and market opportunities can be introduced. Safeguarding the Heartland of the Green Revolution and Arousing the Sleeping Giant

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The framework for a ‘National Policy for Farmers’ presented by NCF has to be suitably adapted and elaborated to suit local realities in different parts of the country, particularly with reference to priorities in investments and action, by the State Farmers’ Commissions Matching National Policy with Local Diversity

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Ministry / Departments of Agriculture both in the Centre and the States may be restructured to become Ministry / Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. Induct active farm men and women in senior positions in Governments for specific periods and specific tasks Set up State Farmers’ Commission with an eminent farmer as Chairperson Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare

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We urge the Central and State Governments to consider seriously the question of including Agriculture under the Concurrent List in Schedule VII, Article 246 of the Constitution. Important policy decisions like those relating to prices, credit and trade are taken by the Government of India. Also, several pieces of legislation including the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, the Biodiversity Act, the Food Bill, etc., are administered by the Government of India. Substantial funds are provided by GoI for rural infrastructure development including irrigation, village roads and markets under Bharat Nirman. By placing agriculture on the Concurrent List, serving farmers and saving farming becomes a joint responsibility of the Centre and States, i.e. a truly national endeavour in raising the morale, prestige and economic well being of our farm women and men. Agriculture in the Concurrent List Constitution Amendment

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Mahatma Gandhi preferred to be known as a farmer, while signing the Visotors’ Book of the NDRI, Bangalore in 1927. Let us prove worthy of his trust that India will care for its farmers

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