Indian agriculture is a mosaic. There are good examples of scientific and remunerative agriculture. Knowledge concerning such agriculture should be spread through a series of national demonstrations, as we did in the 1960s
Q. You are a believer in income orientation of the farmer than production growth. Please tell us more about this.
Everyone needs a stable and adequate income. Farming is a risky profession, depending upon sun and rain. Therefore an income orientation is exceedingly important. This can be done by adopting measures by which there could be a value addition to every part of the biomass.
Q. The central, as well as federal governments, are now talking about loan waiver to farmers in a big way. Can just waiving loans be enough? Tell us about the economics of farming.
Loan waiver is a short term measure to help farmers to get back to farming. On the other hand, it is an acceptance of the non-viability of agriculture. We should make agriculture economically viable through increased productivity, improved and value-added handling of the biomass.
Q. In all sectors one is witnessing a startup boom. How is it in the agricultural sector?
There is no boom in agriculture since demand and supply have to be closely matched in order to ensure that we have market-driven agriculture.
Q. Farmers’ children are not taking up agriculture. This could have an adverse effect in the future. Your comments
Farmers’ children see the difficulties their parents are undergoing. They also read about farmers’ suicides which have a very adverse effect on their mind in taking to agriculture as their profession.
Q. Do you feel the curriculum in agricultural universities needs a revamp? If so, how?
The curriculum in Agricultural Universities needs continuous improvement. Science is progressing fast and the curriculum should be such that the latest information is given to farmers.
Q. Marketing and pricing of farm produce are two issues that need attention. You have been talking a great deal on this. What are the recommendations that you have given to the Government of India?
We have given several suggestions for assured marketing and remunerative pricing. Minimum support price and procurement are important to encourage farmers.
Q. How can one retain youth in farming?
Youth can be retained in farming provided farming becomes both economically attractive and intellectually stimulating.
Q. Are we able to meet the food production demand to the increasing population in India?
We can meet the increased demand arising from increased population since the untapped production reservoir in agriculture is still very high.
Q. Indian economy is still agrarian to a large extent and we lag behind in production and innovation as compared to the USA and Europe? Your comments
Indian agriculture is a mosaic. There are good examples of scientific and remunerative agriculture. Knowledge concerning such agriculture should be spread through a series of national demonstrations, as we did in the 1960s.
Q. What are the different R&D areas that your organization MSSRF is working on?
We are working on anticipatory research (example preparation for sea level rise), participatory research with rural and tribal families and translational research designed to convert scientific know-how into field level do-how.
Q. What’s your take on agriculture-start-ups and how it should be worked upon in a country like India?
The only way agriculture can attract the interest of youth is an economical reward and security of income. This is why it is necessary to provide an income orientation to farming.