Call for change in responsibilities of officials
Coimbatore: Nowhere in the world are the interests of farmer compromised, as in India. Agriculture is for food production. But while the farmer produces food, he is not able to make money. Though there are many ways by which we compromise the interests of the farmer, there are three main factors by which it is made prominent, Surjit K. Chaudhary, Agricultural Production Commissioner and Secretary to State Agriculture Department, said here on Friday.
Inaugurating the fifth Combined Scientific Workers’ Conference at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, he said that firstly, we did not protect all our food. We gave importance to rice, wheat and a few others, and not for the rest. Hence, farmers who were into cultivation of such crops were able to do well, while the rest were not able to. All our food items should get equal importance, he asserted.
Secondly, people blindly accepted when the prices of bottled water, aerated beverages and other commodities went up. But when the price of milk went up, everybody raised a hue and cry. “Why don’t we value the product of the farmer?”, he lamented.
The third way by which people, especially those related to agriculture, compromised the interests of the farmer was by not ensuring that the best agricultural practices reached them. “Our system has failed to make it work. There is some snag somewhere. Are we contributing to the welfare of the farmers, or are we surviving at their cost?” he queried.
He called for a total transformation / overhaul of the responsibilities of the farming officials to bring about a change in the life of the farming community. He lamented that due to poor management of water, Indian farmers continued to starve, while their other counterparts flourished. He called for an attitudinal change to realise the importance of water as a precious commodity.
C. Ramasamy, Vice-Chancellor of TNAU, detailed the challenges faced by agriculture in the State today. The strategies he suggested to combat the problems were to introduce precision farming in all crops, make agri-business a reality, strengthen seed production, use eco-friendly inputs for cultivation, and also strengthen marketing and retailing practices.
C. Kosalaraman, Director of Agriculture, P. Subramanian, Chief Conservator of Forests (Extension), S.D. Sabarathinam, Chief Engineer, Agricultural Engineering, C. Perumal, Director of Seed Certification (In-Charge), and B. Chandrasekaran, Director of Research, TNAU, spoke.