December 6, 2009 6:00:56 am
Rajya sabha MP and farmers leader Sharad Joshi urged farmers to think of a shift from traditional ways of farming to modern techniques to tackle global warming.
Delivering a lecture on Whether farmers welfare comes in the way of consumers welfare? at the J S Karandikar Memorial Lecture organised by the Pune Union of Working Journalists (PUWJ) on Saturday,Joshi said polyhouses can be an alternative to open air agriculture. He also said bringing agriculture products in commodity markets should be considered for farmerss benefits.
As monsoon becomes increasingly unpredictable,agriculture,which is largely dependent on rains and favourable weather condition,would face hard times. So,shifting to polyhouses,with controlled supply of water and fertilizers,can be a viable option, he said.
Joshi said the state government should allot at least 30-40 per cent of its total budget to develop on these methods.
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While backing genetically modified seeds,Joshi called organic farming methods redundant and insufficient to fulfil the needs of growing population. He said chemical fertilizers should be used for more production.
Saying that institutions like the Agriculture Produce Marketing Committees,that decide the prices of agriculture products,do not help farmers’ get good price for their produce. These committees think from the consumers perspective and not farmers perspective. By allowing the agriculture produce to compete in the commodity market,farmers will get good price and capital for further investment in agriculture, he said.
Joshi said that the present economic policies do not help farmers and only increase inflation. Scheme like NREGS has proved fruitful in rural areas. However,a major shift of manpower from agriculture to road works under this scheme has indirectly contributed in price rise as farm labourers demand more money to work on farms resulting in an overall increase in the production cost of agriculture, he said.
This trend would only rise in future as the government policies encourage such anti-farmer schemes in the name of inclusive growth, said Joshi.
He suggested that instead of NREGS,the government should come up with guarantee schemes for farmers providing fixed capital to invest in farming. It will,however,need strong political will to launch such schemes, he said.
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