Report of the meeting on “Doubling farmers’ income by 2022” through organic farming
Government of India is running a process to invite ideas “to double the farmers’ income by the year 2022”. All kinds of stake holders including input providers, researchers, farm organizations, sector wise representatives (like poultry, animal husbandry, fishery etc.), major crop wise representatives (like cotton, sugarcane, horticulture etc.), credit providers, NGOs etc. are invited personally to give their ideas about how to double the farmers’ income. We know, there is a political angle to it, and this in itself is an inorganic idea as far as promotion of organic farming is concerned. It is like doubling the birth weight with a condition of planned premature delivery !!!
Still, as Organic Farming Association of India (as an organization) and me as an independent expert (?!) were invited at Krishibhavan, New Delhi on 20th March, 2017. Kiran VIssa, Dr. Rajinder Chaudhary, Sumana Nandi and me have spent full day sitting in various sessions having close group presenations.
Following are the points and observations to be reported:
- An inter-ministrial committee is set up and chaired by Dr. Ashok Dalawai, who is additional chief secretary in the Ministry of agriculture.
- Dr. Dalwai seems very sincere about the process, he himself was chairing all the sessions and listening to the people with patience, even if the meetings are extended beyond office hours.
- They are setting up committees in various states chaired by VC of SAU (role of state Department of Agriculture is not clear) for this purpose. Dr. Dalwai insisted to be a part of the process at the state level.
- Dr. Devkumar (HOD, Agronomy, USA-Bangalore) and Dr. Balada (HOD, Agronomy, UAS- Dharwad) made good presentation proving that yield can be maintained in OF. Both of these scientists are given a job to gather all the comments and submit a note on how to double income through organic farming. Dr. Devkumar is seeking our help to prepare such note.
- It seems that they are looking for how to harvest low hanging fruits. They need a list of areas and crops with no/less use of agro-chemicals. They are convinced that in such areas/ crop if brought under OF will give good and immediate results.
- I tried to make them understand that…
- Reducing cost of cultivation is a direct benefit to the farmer- Govt should focus on it.
- GM crops will destroy the OF sector
- Production of inputs for OF at rural level will increase non- farm income in farming families
- Direct marketing will increase farmers’ income
- FSSAI is moving towards mandatory certification of organic food- which could be detrimental to the sector.
- Task Force report should be accepted, made public and implemented.
- Kiran Vissa made highly impressive presentation which was evident by Dalwai’s body language for rest of the day. He analyzed overall distress in farm community, its reasons and remedies with latest facts and figures. He was specially asked to submit comments in written.
- Dr. Rajinder Chaudhary, talked as an economist and Sumana shared concerns of new generation farmer.
- All the three presentations from us are attached herewith for your kind perusal.
With this submission to all of you (who have their own concerns, expertise and experience in OF) are requested to send me your comments on what Govt. should do to “Increase income of farmers’ through organic farming” soonest. We need ideas which are practically implementable and give results in short term.
As told in the meeting, the report is expected to be out in April and then Govt will start working.
Those who want to send ideas about doubling income without keeping organic farming in focus are requested to send comments to Kiran.
Dr. Rajinder Chaudhary, Sumana and Kiran are requested to add if any thing is missing.
Jatan: A Mission for Organic Farming,
Vinoba Ashram, Gotri, Vadodara: 390 021