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    OpinionsEnhanced budget allocation needed for incentivizing agriculture Sector

    Enhanced budget allocation needed for incentivizing agriculture Sector

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    Enhanced allocation needed for incentivizing agriculture Sector

    Dr Narinder Paul

    While chairing first pre-budget consultative meeting with the representatives of agricultural groups at Capital, on 19th of November, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely emphasized that in order to ensure future increase in agriculture output and double farmers' income by 2022, focus should be on higher agriculture productivity especially in view of the limitation on expanding crop area. Apart from other deliberations, use of latest technologies, high yielding and resistant crop varieties, revisiting incentive structure for farming, reducing wastage, efficient utilization of water for irrigation, phasing of sowing, watering and harvesting operations, using latest Information Technology to increase resilience to agriculture and improvement in marketing of farm produce remained the major issues discussed. Other suggestions included announcement of awards for farmers who do new technological innovations in agriculture sector and cold chain provision for horticulture and minor vegetables.

     

    There is nothing denying the fact that in order to increase the price benefits to the farmers, it is necessary that the farmers be provided timely market information. Promotion of market intelligence has today become a significant thrust area to pave the way for achieving the target of doubling the farmers' income on uninterrupted and sustained basis.  In the state of Jammu & , the farm market infrastructure has not been developed to the extent it should have been. Much budgetary allocations are needed to abridge this gulf and enable the farmers to get reasonable prices of their produce.

     

    The suggestion of developing software applications, both computer and mobile based, to link farmers directly to consumers assumes immense significance in today's technological era. This is of practical and paramount importance as majority share of the farmers' income finds way into the pockets of the middlemen who has nothing to do with the noble profession of farming but actually mint out huge profits which actually farmers must gain but ironically are deprived of. If farmers are directly linked with the customers, a major issue of the farming community will automatically get solved. Farmers would start harvesting the fruits of their produce in terms of monetary gains adding to his income thereby realizing the objective of doubling farmers' income.

     

     

    To enhance farmers' earning, it is imperative to improve marketing mechanism of farm produce. System of temporary run procurement centers by the Department of Agriculture Jammu in collaboration with Food Corporation of India is indeed a noble initiative aimed at providing the marketing facilities to the farmers at their doorsteps. These centers cover only major cereal crops i.e. rice and wheat and; this year maize procurement centers has been opened at few places but the biggest problem is their temporary setting without any proper infrastructure. Budgetary allocations are direly needed for strengthening the temporary run procurement centers to transform them into infrastructure and technology adorned full-fledged permanent institutions so as to cater to the marketing needs of the farmers. Minimization of middle men's involvement in sale of agriculture produce especially vegetable crops through market interventions may help to promote vegetable production and income supplementation of small and marginal farmers Besides, enhancement of production of fruit and other allied crops is also direly needed through requisite budgetary allocation with need based revisited incentive modalities and structure.

     

    Along with use of latest technology to raise productivity, need to revisit the incentive structure of farming was also felt during the meeting. Application of proven and advocated crop production, protection and management technologies and; especially latest versions to enhance the crop productivity through time tested and proven extension methodologies and approaches indeed is a landmark discussion for furthering enhancement of the farmers' household income and earnings. To bail out farmers from debt, higher allocation in budget was sought and launching of new schemes was also thought over.  Other suggestions included making mandatory for Agriculture Universities to start Agriculture Marketing Department and differential rates of interest for the agricultural sector by the banks.

     

     

    “For efficient implementation of the National Agriculture Market, there is need to integrate the more than 550 regulated Mandis in the country by 2017 for which the States need to reform the APMC Act”, envisioned Finance Minister. It has made us in J&K compulsory to think over APMC Act as we are still far away in drafting or framing any section of Act to strengthen market legislature. If we have to double farmers' income, the obvious thrust area would be either enacting market legislature to adopt the provisions of AFMC Act in the state or to develop sui-generous system for safeguarding the farmers' interests otherwise; middle men's pendulum will keep on oscillating the margins of farmers' income.

    The Author is from KVK Doda, SKUAST Jammu)

    Northlines
    Northlines
    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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