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Nana Patekar, who through his Naam Foundation has come to the aid of drought-stricken farmers in the state, now aims to help them made inroads in the venture of collective farming. Patekar, who was speaking at the TiECon Pune 2017, said he aimed to take up market driven collective farming on over 65,000 acres of land this year.
“Last year we had experimented with 50 acres of land and the farmers involved got handsome returns. This year we aim to target a much larger group,” he said. In collective farming, Patekar said, the farmers are provided with inputs from them and are asked to grow only a specific crop. Citing the present crisis in the tur trade, Patekar said farmers often not do enough market research before going for a crop.
Ever since its inception, Naam Foundation has been working with the families of farmers who committed suicide in Maharashtra. Last year, 3,052 farmers had committed suicide due to drought and subsequent crop failure. Marathwada and Vidarbha continue to see high incidences of farmer suicides even today. Other than providing monetary help, the Naam Foundation also helps them in life skill and conducts mass marriages. Patekar said they were also setting up schools to help in education of the children of farmers who had committed suicide.
On the question of loan waiver, Patekar said the same yardstick could not be applied for farmers practicising rain-fed agriculture and those who were in well irrigated areas. “Most of the agricultural regulations are not farmer friendly. The state and central government are doing much which is good,” he said. The actor also called for wider reach of education to help raise awareness in the population.