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'Scientist Development Should Be Demonstrated To Farmers'

In an interview, M. B. Chetty shares government's thoughts and ideas about Indian agriculture.

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BW Businessworld speaks with M. B. Chetty, assistant director general in agriculture education division of HRD ministry and a person who knows the nitty-gritty of Indian farmers and their issues from the perspective of an academician. In an interview, Chetty shares government's thoughts and ideas about Indian agriculture.

What is the need of the hour for farmers?
Education must be the need of the hour, as farmers need more education to explore new techniques. They should be informed about latest developments and challenges in the agriculture sector.  

We have started a new scheme under Indian Council of Agriculture research called “Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Unnat Krishi Shiksha Yojna”  to train farmers in organic farming, natural farming etc.

Our target is to teach 15,000 farmers in a calendar year. Each centre will conduct five training programs in one year, so hundred and fifty farmers will be trained by one centre in one year. We have hundred such centres across India that will give an output of fifteen thousand farmers per year. This is the vision of our Agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh.

Should there be some minimum selling price for agricultural products, what is the relevance?  Please explain.
In my opinion, there should be MSP. There is a huge price variation in onions and tomatoes. Many times, farmers don't get even Rs one for the same onion, which we buy in Rs 20. I am sure, there must be some minimum support price. Our farmer is a person who should get, some minimum support price. It is for his safety and to let his dedication towards farming be alive. Even if he loses his crop, he will remain encouraged to not to give up.

How to control suicides among farmers? 
Yes, this is a big issue. I personally feel that government is really worried about this. If there is news coming in for farmer suicide government usually intervene to handle causes of such accidents. There are many subsidies on services for farmers.

How can technological training be imparted to farmers?
Yes, there is need of technological training to farmers. I have been in research, I have been in academics. I can say it with confidence if a scientist develops something. It must be demonstrated to the farmers. Indian farmers do possess a quality of great social bonding in a community it is natural to them. Even if one farmer will come to know or trained in some aspect of agriculture, he will share it with all others involved in the profession in his village.

How can we work for the betterment in the agriculture sector? 
The government has many targets in its mind. But I will say it must be precision farming. It is popular in many nations. Here in India, farmers do not go for soil tests. There are integrated mechanisms of government for soil health test. Soil health card is based on them. If farmers will come to know the about the need for soil. They will be able to grow better crops.


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