Revolution in productivity, profitability, and sustainability should be brought about in agriculture. Complete adoption of technologies will only bring about this revolution. There has been a gap between the technology developed by the universities and that which has reached the farmers, Umesh Chandra Sarangi, Chairman, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), said here on Thursday.
He was launching the Pilot Project on Augmenting the Productivity of Lead Crops at the university. The project was being funded by NABARD and implemented by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.
Five villages in Annur block have been adopted for its implementation.
Elaborating about bridging the technology gap, Mr. Sarangi said various steps were being taken to see that the generation and adoption in technology was bridged.
“The real fulfilment for an agricultural scientist will only be when the farmer adopts the technology”.
Speaking about the aspired revolution, the Chairman said: “The cost of production is very high. Hence, profitability is less. How to produce more at less cost has to be worked out. Technology adds only to the cost of production and hence increasing input cost has become a deterrent. Sustainability has to be seen in terms of both finance and nature. Farmers are advised to adopt profit maximisation rather than production maximisation.”
Lamenting that the importance being given to soil was very poor, Mr. Sarangi said soil management would gain significance in the years to come because what was left out was increasingly of the saline and alkaline nature.
“With less water and land, the challenge is to produce more for the increasing population. Appropriate convergence of credit, technology, and market is the solution to address this problem,” Mr. Sarangi said.
P. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said Annur was identified for the implementation of the project because it was a rain-fed area.
“The normal rainfall in the State is 930 mm. However, Coimbatore receives only 694 mm rainfall. In the last 10 years the average rainfall has been only 494 mm. Hence this project, introduced at an outlay of Rs. 50 lakh for three years, is expected to be of help to the farmers,” he said.
Though the cultivable area in Coimbatore had declined from 3.6 lakh hectares to 3.2 lakh hectares the production had not suffered.
This was thanks to the technologies introduced by the university which had improved production.
He urged farmers to adopt drip irrigation and precision farming practices for efficient use of water in cultivation and introduce mechanisation to overcome the labour shortage problem.
R. Narayan, Chief General Manager, NABARD, Chennai, said the project would only be successful if adopted completely by the farmers.
The challenge of the scientists and bankers would be in demonstrating to farmers how the change would better the lead crops, ensure a sustainable income and a profitable market.
With the assistance of meaningful partners, there would be scope for implementing more such models.
V. Suresh, Assistant General Manager, NABARD, Chennai, C.K. Venkateswaran, Deputy General Manager, Canara Bank, and V. Kandasamy, Joint Director of Agriculture, spoke.