‘Rural entrepreneurship will lead to overall progress’
Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has emphasised the need to launch cooperative societies for farmers in order to improve agricultural production.
He was inaugurating the 15th Chaitanya Karshika Mela organised by the Kottayam Social Service Centre (KSSS) here on Sunday.
Dr. Kalam said agricultural productivity could be ensured only through integrated rural development that involved agricultural and non-agricultural growth, and a societal mission. According to him, one of the major problems faced in agriculture was the division of agricultural lands into small holdings, which gets fragmented further due to the prevailing social system. Under the circumstances, the sole method to increase production is by creating a farmers’ cooperative movement in the rural sector which would bring together small-scale farmers, facilitating mechanised farming techniques, processing, value-addition and marketing of agro products. Such movements could also establish networks with markets on behalf of the individual farmers. The farmers, who are thus empowered as entrepreneurs, will also be able to plan methods to diversity their operations, he said.
Advocating his concept of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) scheme for rural development, Dr. Kalam said the programme could facilitate a growth driven by rural entrepreneurship, thereby leading to the overall progress of the region.
He added that sustainable development constitutes not just economic factors, but also focuses on social development, environmental considerations, technological infusions and employment generation.
Answering a query by a student on the necessity of the Kudankulam nuclear power project, Dr. Kalam said the country was utilising nuclear energy for power generation because it was a clean source and was similar to other sources like solar, hydel and wind energy. Moreover, there was no cause for worry regarding the safety of nuclear projects as several scientific measures have been put in place to avoid accidents.
Finance Minister K.M. Mani presided over the function. Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, Suresh Kurup and Mons Joseph, MLAs, District Collector Mini Antony, Kottayam Archdiocese Auxiliary Bishop Mar Joseph Pandarasseril, former MLA Thomas Chazhikadan, KSSS president Mathew Elappanickal and executive secretary Michael Vettickat also participated in the function.