Q. What are the some ways to avoid dependence of agriculture on monsoon?
The source of water is always depend on rain directly as well as indirectly. Therefore, on the part of the policy makers, farmers and other stakeholders to make all the efforts to harvest rainwater and utilize technology to recharge ground water. Also, farmers should be properly educated to rationalize crop use pattern with regard to availability of water resources. Certain crops such as sugar cane & rice that are water-guzzling crops need to be grown in lesser area & replaced with other less water consuming crops. Also, newer varieties with lesser water requirements are developed through research. It appears at present that there is no way that Indian agriculture can be made independent of external resources. Harvesting Technology in Agriculture Harvesting Technology in Agriculture
Q. The Prime Minister pledged to double the farmers’ income by 2022. Your comments.
The production of crops dependents’ again on several factors, which may not be under the control of the farmers. Climate change is a big threat to food production system. Therefore, it is important on part of the farmers that they diversify their agriculture including animal husbandry, poultry, fishery, horticulture, bee keeping etc. so that other crops can compensate losses in one crop. Ecosystem created in rural areas to minimize production losses and farmers are facilitated to have access to national and international markets for selling their product. Appropriate infrastructure should be created for storage, value addition and price of their product. As there are several unknown factors that determine the outcome in agriculture it will difficult to double the income.
Q. What’s your take on promotion of aquaculture farming?
Yes, aquaculture farming should be promoted big way where the water is not a limiting factor. The aquaculture has brought tremendous change in states such as Andhra Pradesh. Several other states are also promoting fresh water aquaculture. Yes, the nutritional deficiencies problem can be addressed by aquaculture to some extent.
Q. How should India mitigate stubble burning in Haryana and Punjab?
To mitigate the pollution issue, farmers need to be compensated economically and their stubbles need to lifted/removed quickly at the time of harvesting by government/private entity which can utilize this straw after processing and develop products which can be utilized. One such product could be animal feed after some enrichment. The bottom line is with financial benefits to the farmers this issue can be effectively tackled. The farmers need quick removal of straw from her/his field so that next crop can be planted.
Q. What initiatives encourage youngsters to embrace agro-industry?
Agro-industry has not yet developed in robust manner as in advanced countries. If there are opportunities in agri-business, youth will be automatically attracted to it. It is well documented that post-harvest processing/value addition in agriculture sector as whole is less than 20 percent which is far behind from some of the advanced countries where post-harvest processing is more than 60 percent. Therefore, there is huge scope for enhancing processing through investment in this sector in big way thereby creating jobs for agriculture graduates and postgraduates.
Q. What is the market entry strategy for a start-up?
Startups need to be innovative in their services and products as there is competition with some big multi-nationals and established national companies in agri-sector. What is important for the startups is to identify areas where there is no competition and the products and services are cheaper as compared to others in the sector.