“Streamlined linkage between all the sphere of agriculture and the farmer is the need of the hour”- Dr.Sahadeva Singh

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Agriculture is the main stay of Indian economy and various initiatives are being taken up in order to bring about a country wide revolution in it. Though a lot of money gets sanctioned to the agriculture sector in every budget and numerous beneficial schemes are cooked for alleviating the farmers’ condition, but still everyday  in newspapers , in media we come across the plight of farmers and how mass migration from villages to cities is taking place at a faster rate. Majority of people don’t want to take up farming as a profession. Even a farmer himself prefers his own progeny to be a job holder rather than a farmer. So, in order to shade some light on these situations we interviewed Dr. Sahadeva Singh, Associate dean: School of Agricultural Sciences, G D Goenka University, New Delhi.

Dr.Sahadeva’s expertise is in crop husbandry, watershed management, plant protection and horticulture. He has nearly 30 years experience in teaching, research, consultancy and the provision of agricultural extension services.He has worked at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture; and the Planning Commission of India. Dr.Sahadeva was the Director (Academic) at the School of Agricultural Sciences, Jaipur National University in Rajasthan. He has earned a PhD and M.Sc in agronomy from the prestigious Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) and BSc (Agriculture and Animal Husbandry) from C.S. Azad University of Agriculture & Technology.

Q: How far the initiatives taken up by the Government of India have proved beneficial for the farmers of our country?

A:The government has been quite proactive to provide help to the farmers by way of capital subsidy, quality inputs and technical support. Implementation of several schemes such as RKVY, NHM, etc are being done for their betterment. Under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi initiative farmers will get up to 6000 rupees per year as minimum income support, deposited in their accounts directly. ICAR, State Agriculture Universities, Krishi Vikash Kendras, National Seed Corporations and various other government institutions are working for improvement of the agriculture sector.

Q: So why do you think that the farmers of our country are still backward and unable to reap the benefits? What strategies are we lacking in?

The missing link has been the inability to create a proper streamlined linkage between the government, research, extension, industry and farmer. ICAR which is the apex body for agricultural research has no legislative powers which it from making laws when needed. Only 5% of the total agricultural budget is allotted to ICAR of carrying out numerous functions. So proper extension machinery couldn’t be enforced and farmers get backward in application of improved technicalities. Also proper marketing structure and abolition of middlemen for increasing farmer’s profit, couldn’t be done till now.

Q: What strategies should be implemented in order to bring about the efficient utilisation of resources for agriculture?

Establishment of a central agriculture service can provide an effective linkage between the farmer and the technical institutions as well the government. Shifting of agriculture from the state list to the concurrent list and providing ICAR with legislative powers and more funding will help in smooth implementation of research in the farmers’ field. The strengthening of the extension machinery and more demand based research will help to bring about major beneficial changes. The small and the marginal farmers should be able to club their lands legally, cultivate on it and divide the income according to their percent share in the land. Reorganisation of the entire setup of agriculture marketing, decreasing the interference of middle men, traceability of the farmers’ produce by the customers and capability of the farmer to establish his own outlets are some important solutions.

Q: How can the youth of our country be made more involved in agriculture and be able to take up farming as a profession?

They can be sensitize about the importance of agriculture from a younger age by including agriculture in the course syllabus. Professional courses such as medical, ayurveda, food processing should have at least one course of agriculture from the view of food quality, nutrition and medicinal value. Agriculture graduates should be provided with industrial attachment which improves their skill and employability. Their innovations and start-ups should be funded and they should be provided subsidies if they take up farming as a profession. Vocational training for dropout graduates will also be helpful for increasing resource personnel.

Q: Lastly Sir, what do you feel our magazine Shymala Subarna can do more to be beneficial to the farming society?

Shymala Subarna is doing outstanding work and what is more amazing about it is that it is a student initiative which has been able to create a space for itself. It’s work was praised by the agricultural community and deserves to be rewarded. I wish it keeps on growing and keeping the same standard for years to come. 

Interview taken by – Miss Pragnya Paramita , Feature Head

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