Farmers should grow lucrative crops: Kaushik Mukherjee

Bankers should “shake off status quoism” and think of a “paradigm shift” in their approach to increase agricultural productivity. Agriculture in India requires a “creative” approach, in which the government will have to spend to create infrastructure that will enable farmers to become entrepreneurs, Chief Secretary Kaushik Mukherjee has said.

He was speaking at a meeting of the State-Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC), Karnataka, held at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), here on Wednesday.

‘Tired earth’

Farmers should cultivate high-value agricultural products, and foodgrains could be imported. They should grow lucrative crops instead of trying to coax the “tired” earth to produce more foodgrains because agricultural production in parts of the country, including Karnataka, had reached saturation point.

He said, “Tell farmers to grow exotic products… strawberries with high value and get your rice from Bangladesh. Livelihood to farmers is more important than food security.” Mr. Mukherjee said, “Why do you think it is the farmer’s exclusive duty to grow food for you?”

Increasing agricultural production required new ideas such as using recycled wastewater from Bangalore to water floriculture farms in parched Kolar, where farmers were using tanker water, or growing vegetables along with flowers there.

G.V. Krishna Rau, Additional Chief Secretary and Development Commissioner, said it was time bankers deliberated on the approach and set up a subcommittee to evaluate credit performance, instead of moving in “autopilot” mode.

Uma Shankar, Regional Director, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), said people should be wary of a fake website (https:/www.rbi-inonline.org/savings.html) offering banking facilities and asking people to apply online for opening Reserve Bank of India (RBI) savings accounts.

RBI did not offer such services that commercial banks provided, she said.

She said it was enough to provide proof of address of either the current or permanent address to open a new bank account, or while updating an existing bank account.

G.R. Chintala, Chief General Manager, NABARD, was present.

Keywords: lucrative crops

More In: Karnataka | National