The Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu believes multi-pronged efforts can make Indian agriculture sustainable and profitable, and produce more in less area by changing the approach and practices.
On the 120th birth anniversary of Acharya NG Ranga, Naidu laid emphasis on agriculture as the late freedom fighter was considered the father of the Indian Kisan Movement along with Swami Sahaja. He described agriculture as the bedrock of India’s civilization and economy. “Endowed with great natural resources of soil and the monsoon rains, agriculture had always played an important role in the growth of our economy. Even though it does not dominate the GDP numbers in recent years, we depend on it directly or indirectly.”
The VP pointed out that the government had implemented several policies and schemes to improve the farming community, but results have not been satisfactory, and the farmers continue to face challenges on many fronts, such as not getting remunerative price for the produce and effectively tackling natural calamities. Naidu said the farmers are the worst-hit in every adverse event. “In addition, the farmers has been perennially facing problems like water shortage, farm labor, lack of timely and quality inputs, lack of mechanization, cold storage facilities and access to timely credit as also the absence of effective marketing systems, resulting in the sector not reaching its full potential,” he highlighted. “Thus, there is a need for a multi-pronged effort for making Indian agriculture sustainable and profitable. By according the highest priority to the well-being of the farmers, the government has initiated series of measures.” This includes the recent revolutionary legislations giving farmers the freedom to sell their produce at the place of their choice and removing inter-state trade barriers, among others.
Naidu observed that there is a need for an effective synergy between traditional knowledge and state-of-art technology. “Our forefathers have mastered the art of agriculture, they had bred resilient seed varities, used eco-friendly manure and raised hardy leguminous crops that strengthened soil quality. They also engaged in allied activities that supplemented their income.” The VP highlighted traditional practices like zero-budget natural farming and the use of organic fertilizers have gained traction. There is the paddy-cum-fish cultivation practiced by Apatanis, an agricultural community in far North East Arunachal, has become world-renowned for its advanced, sustainable methods of cultivation. Naidu said these sustainable practices have also been found to give better productivity with minimal investment.