The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has said that despite agriculture being the main occupation of most Indians, farmers are finding the profession unattractive because of low and stagnated income and productivity. He said this while delivering the 14th Dr V.K.R.V. Rao Memorial Lecture at the Institute for Social and Economic Change in Bengaluru today. Karnataka Governor Shri Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala, Union Minister for Chemicals & Fertilizers and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Ananth Kumar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The Vice President said that strategies for faster, inclusive and sustainable growth must address the issues faced by farmers.Government initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), e-NAM and Soil Health Cards are helping the farmers to improve productivity and get better returns, he said.The Vice President said that initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana are required for addressing the risks in livestock sector.
The Vice President said that we have a legitimate reason for being proud of our farmers’ achievements. We have successfully overcome food shortages. We have moved from food import to self-sufficiency and exports. We have made the transition from subsistence farming to intensive and technology-led cultivation. At present, India occupies top position in the production of many crops. It has the highest milk production in the world and has seen many transformative changes as it ushered in green, white, blue and yellow revolutions, he said.The Vice President said that an enhanced investment, both public and private is required. We need to formulate a long-term and a medium term action plan detailing how private and public investments will be channelled and the strategic directions we should pursue to revitalize this sector, he said.
The Vice President has outlined twelve initiatives that might help increase productivity and generate adequate returns to farmers.
First is the use of good quality seeds which can enhance productivity by 15 to 20%.
Second, a balanced use of fertilizers is essential for raising agricultural productivity.
Third, timely institutional credit plays a pivotal role for adoption of innovations by marginal and small farmers.
Fourth, diversification by supplementing farming with allied activities like dairying, fisheries and poultry can contribute significantly to increasing farmers’ incomes.
Fifth, farm mechanization in India must expand.
Sixth, intensification of agriculture and combining agriculture with horticulture and mechanization of hill agriculture can increase the farmers’ income.
Seventh, we must strengthen the ecosystem that encourages agro-based industries.
Eighth, there has to be a much better understanding of water use.
Ninth, farmers need to realize larger share of the consumer price. Tenth, we may have to consider substantive reforms in the land policy.
Eleventh, we need to develop climate change resilient farming practices.
Twelfth, knowledge sharing processes must be streamlined.