Restructuring India’s farming sector is crucial to survival
Rajiv Tevtiya, the chief executive and co-founder of RML Agtech, which offers technology solutions to farmers designed to improve profitability, talks to The National about what needs to be done to address the issues in the sector.
What factors are fuelling the problems in the agricultural sector?
There is lack of awareness among farmers on how to sow crops. They continue to grow what their parents have been growing without any thoughts about why they are growing [these crops]. If proper information is provided, like what and why to grow, it can help in managing the demand-supply mismatch. In addition, there is lack of information on weather conditions and price information. Today, almost one-third of crop output is wasted due to lack of agri-related infrastructure, which begins from poor storage, power, and transportation.
What does India need to do to improve the situation?
To achieve this, we need to educate farmers, particularly our youth farmers, who have much greater access to mobile technology. Therefore information and communication technology [ICT] and digitisation of advisory services holds greater promise in revolutionising the agriculture and helps farmers to make better decisions on their farm by leveraging advancement in data sciences around the world. ICT-based services need to be expedited to ensure effective extension system so as to reach millions of farmers especially small landholding ones, which is not possible with the current system.
Are there any other possible solutions?
Most of the farmers in India have small land holdings ranging between two to five acres. Even with such smallholdings, operating cost, which includes tilling, agri inputs, seeds and so on is high. In such situations land pooling is another solution. Land pooling, a concept where a farmer or group of farmers mutually agree to share their piece of land with each other to cultivate crops that are most suitable and profit making. This is a method which can help cost minimisation and profit maximisation.
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Published: June 24, 2017 04:00 AM