What the editorial (of Feb.25) on agriculture missed is the immense contribution of the agriculture sector in providing jobs to 60 per cent of the population. The sector has shown itself to be a workable model of mass-based production at a time when the government has cited agriculture as being highly manpower oriented but with less output. The fact that large sections of the population are engaged in agriculture should not be seen as a burden but as a competitive advantage in the form of easy labour. It has untapped potential and is a source of independent and respectable work. The time has come to enhance the capabilities of crores of farmers and make farming a profession to be proud of.

Vikas Singh,

Bangalore

The total grain production of 263 million tonnes this year has to be viewed against the demand of 245 million tonnes for domestic consumption in 2012. The country needs to ready itself for a further demand of up to 320 million tonnes by 2020. Storage and supply chain facilities cannot cater to such huge and growing requirements. While acknowledging the stellar food production level this year, the government needs to prepare a road map that will factor in monsoon-related contingencies.

Aditya Radhakrishnan,

Faridabad

The government needs to focus on agriculture in a big way, balancing crop production while ensuring a balanced diet for all citizens. There must be adequate grain storage facilities at the panchayat level.

M. Javed A.,

Gorakhpur

The so-called growth in farm output that the government boasts of is a mere gift of a bountiful monsoon and definitely not because of its policies. India is moving towards corporatisation in the field of agriculture. Since the adoption of neo-liberal economic policies, the number of people dependent on agriculture is fast dwindling. Even now a producer is in agony for want of a stable supportive price while a consumer laments the unaffordable cost of food produce. Middlemen are given a free hand in the name of forward and future trading which only creates innumerable problems. The government must compute the amount given away as revenue forgone to the corporate sector and subsidies withdrawn in the field of agriculture to get a fair idea of the contribution to agriculture.

A.G. Rajmohan,

Anantapur

It is ironic that when there has been a record production of foodgrain in recent years, inflation (especially food inflation) is still on the higher side. What the next government must do is to ensure a dramatic reduction in the wastage of food, especially during the process of transportation and after the provision of adequate and scientific ways to store grain.

Akshay Dhadda,

Jaipur

The issue of the critical role water plays in sustaining the agriculture sector has become even more relevant than before; Indian agriculture is clearly dependent on the monsoons. Interlinking of peninsular rivers may be the solution. Both the Central and State governments should enhance budgetary allocations along with augmenting infrastructure in terms of post-harvest facilities. The quick adoption of advanced agricultural technologies in dryland development, a suitable water management programme as practised in Israel, judicious water usage and the formation of water cooperatives are a few steps that can enhance the sustainability of the agriculture sector.

Gurudatta A.R.,

Bangalore

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Giving agriculture its dueFebruary 25, 2014

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