Sunday, September 26, 2021

Revive agriculture

Editorial 2

We all know of the significance of land and agriculture for self-sufficiency and fundamental source of survival for our people. Unfortunately today our agriculture sector is far behind its civilized agenda. The chain of relationship between mankind, other living organisms, environment and land is nature’s finest scheme of symbiotic coexistence. Human race from time immemorial has resorted to practice of cultivating land (agriculture) to extract its share of resources for survival. Over a period of time, agriculture became the most prominent activity attaining the pivotal role in shaping the economy of countries and regions. But for the last many decades other market oriented materialistic economic practices have overpowered this movement of survival and pushed it to the back-burner. Consumer oriented economies and subsequent service sectors have trampled agriculture activity in many developing and under-developed countries. Sizeable part of valuable land is utilized for industrialization and precious water resources and bodies polluted with hazardous residual matter. Our state for long had the distinction of possessing primarily an agrarian economy with modest contribution from handicrafts, but slowly it has turned to multifaceted economic activity. However, in our state due to many impediments like shortage of energy, climatic conditions and fragile eco-system, industrial activities could not grow in a big way; compulsively restraining our economic movement. Presently, out of all the existing sectors, agriculture is the most unorganized sector with very little adaptability to modern techniques and technology by the farming community even after relentless efforts by government agencies. Faulty land use, lack of easily accessible working capital and change in attitude of younger generation towards agriculture as a whole are major bottlenecks in growth of agriculture as a vibrant economic activity. Mushrooming residential colonies on cultivable land; change in cropping pattern, etc has exposed our agriculture sector to vagaries of worsening. Almost all cultivable land across the state is worsening with every passing day. Illegal felling of forests and subsequent erosions had changed the entire landscape and course of irrigation and drainage channels ultimately fading the soil and robbing it of its precious nutrients. Even though we have the department of horticulture/ floriculture, yet we are not even on the map of the top producers of cut-flowers even in India. Why is it that our fruit growers are still utilizing ancient techniques in growing fruits when the same acreage is capable of producing hundred times more fruit than what they are at this time? Clearly, these departments have been unable to do adequate research in bringing technology from world leaders in these fields and educate our farmers in these new agricultural technologies. Reviving agriculture as major performer in our economy is a two way traffic, where both state and the farming community have to play their own role. The state government should do more work in the fields of research and technology, and also ensure coordination between lab and the land to make it more efficient. On the other hand farmers and their educated younger generation have to realize the vibrancy of agriculture sector as an enterprise; should practice it with remunerative endeavor and not a mere aversive compulsion for survival. Beyond scientific research and technology up-gradation, our agriculture sector requires modern economic and entrepreneurial interventions with liberal financial backing. Several segments within the agriculture sector, like horticulture and floriculture, currently earn substantial amount of revenue and provide employment to many. In the first instance these sectors can be explored further and made strength of our economic activity. Agriculture and its allied sectors in our state cannot be dealt and conjoined with larger perspective of regional agriculture scenario. Our state being unique in many ways requires unique localized interventions of special nature and package. Its topography, climate, ambiance; distinct aroma and taste within its fruits and flowers make it incomparable. This exclusiveness can be explored and tapped making an exclusive brand of our own. Since, most of our people are directly or indirectly involved with agriculture and its related sectors, we as a state with an open eye for agenda of self sufficiency should devotedly embrace agriculture as a profession and fulfill our responsibility to till our lands dutifully for our survival.