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Agri Entrepreneurship Will Make Farmers Empowered

Recognized for his significant contributions to agriculture and farmers’ welfare, Chandra Shekhar Singh is bestowed with the prestigious Padma Shri award. This accolade serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment and substantial influence in the agricultural sector. In agriculture, he has implemented innovative methods that combine a scientific approach with modernization. The integration of these approaches has the potential to greatly enhance both productivity and the income of farmers.

Beyond his accolades, Chandra Shekhar Singh actively champions the cause of farmers. Through this, he strives to minimize the environmental footprint associated with agricultural practices. His initiatives specifically target challenges such as soil erosion reduction, improved water management, and decreased carbon emissions. These efforts align with broader sustainability goals, showcasing a proactive stance towards fostering environmentally responsible agricultural practices.

Chandra Shekhar Singh holds key positions, including Founder of VASUNDHARA and Board Member at ICAR-ATARI Kanpur. He is also Member of the Central Seed Committee under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. Moreover, he is a Member of the Spice Board of India under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Talking to The Interview World, Chandra Shekhar Singh highlights various government initiatives towards improving farmers’ conditions. He also underlines linking the marketing of farm produce and promoting the use of organic and hybrid seeds. The following are key highlights from his discussions.

Q: Are you satisfied with the government’s initiatives aimed at improving the conditions of farmers in the country?

A: The Indian government has implemented a comprehensive array of measures aimed at revitalizing the agricultural sector. Such measures ensure the sustainable well-being of the farming community. These initiatives encompass heightened investments, advancements in farming practices, and improvements in rural infrastructure. Moreover, they include the facilitation of access to credit, technology, and other essential inputs. In response to distress sales of agricultural produce, the government has taken several steps. One such initiative is increasing Minimum Support Prices to guarantee fair remuneration for farmers.

To bolster the financial standing of farmers, various support measures have been introduced. These include debt waiver, interest subvention on crop loans, and the revitalization of the Short-Term Rural Cooperative Credit Structure. Noteworthy schemes like Kisan Samman Nidhi, Fasal Bima Yojana, and Farm Machinery Bank at villages are playing pivotal roles. Such schemes are also contributing significantly to the welfare of farmers. These collective efforts underscore the government’s unwavering commitment to fostering sustainable growth in the agriculture sector. Moreover, the government addresses challenges faced by farmers and promotes rural prosperity.

Large farmers in India are successfully leveraging technology to enhance yield and efficiency in farming. However, small and medium farmers are yet to fully embrace technology. Therefore, it is imperative for small and medium farmers to swiftly transition from traditional to entrepreneurial farming. In essence, they should become the new entrepreneurs driving agricultural innovation and prosperity in India.

Q: Will the establishment of direct market linkages for farm produce significantly contribute to improving the conditions of Indian farmers?

A: Establishing direct market linkages offers farmers the opportunity to sell their produce directly to consumers, bypassing the necessity for intermediaries. This not only eliminates the need for middlemen but also enhances the potential for improved price realization. Farmers stand to benefit from a larger share of the final retail price, thereby reducing their reliance on intermediaries. Connecting directly with buyers enables farmers to engage in negotiations that can lead to better prices. This also allows them to retain a more significant portion of their earnings.

Moreover, direct market linkages contribute to a more informed and empowered farming community. Farmers gain access to crucial market information, including real-time demand, prevailing prices, and consumer preferences. This access provides the knowledge needed to make strategic decisions about what crops to grow and the optimal timing for selling their produce. In essence, these direct connections empower farmers to navigate the market landscape with greater confidence and efficiency.

Q: What is your take on traditional seeds versus hybrid seeds?

A: Ultimately, the choice between traditional and hybrid seeds hinges on the specific needs, goals, and circumstances of the farmer, considering the agroecological context. Informed decisions, rooted in an understanding of local conditions and desired outcomes, are imperative. The growing awareness among consumers regarding the health and environmental benefits of organic food has fostered a willingness to pay a premium for products perceived as both healthier and environmentally friendly.

Traditional seeds, also known as open-pollinated seeds, present distinct advantages. Farmers can save these seeds for subsequent growing seasons, fostering self-sufficiency and preserving traditional crop varieties. Often adapted to local climates and conditions over generations, these seeds are well-suited for specific regions. The planting of various traditional seeds contributes to biodiversity, safeguarding different genetic traits within a species.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that open-pollinated seeds may yield lower in some cases compared to hybrids, and traditional crops may exhibit more variability in traits, resulting in less uniformity. They may also possess lower resistance to certain diseases and pests when compared to hybrids. Striking a balance between traditional and hybrid seeds is pivotal to sustainably meet the food demands of a populous country.

Given that India is the world’s most populated country and has limited agricultural land compared to other large nations, farmers in the country must strategically utilize hybrid seeds to enhance productivity and meet the escalating food demand of the nation.

Q: How do you view the growth of the organic food market in India?

A: The global and domestic demand for organic products is on the rise, with India experiencing a steady increase in the organic food market. This growth is fuelled by various factors that not only contribute to market expansion but also offer potential advantages for farmers. Engaging in organic farming practices allows farmers to tap into the trend of consumers willing to pay premium prices for organic produce, resulting in a boost in their income. Moreover, the principles of organic farming, which emphasize soil health, biodiversity, and a reduced reliance on synthetic inputs, play a pivotal role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of agricultural practices.

Empowering Indian Farmers for Sustainable Success
Empowering Indian Farmers for Sustainable Success
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