Chennai, March 02, 2016: Doubts have been rightly expressed about our ability to double the income of farmers in five years as proposed by the Finance Minister. In my view, doubling is possible because of the vast untapped yield and income reservoir prevailing in our major farming systems. However achieving this potential will be possible only if the following five steps are taken:
First, there is need to improve small farm productivity and thereby the marketable surplus through concurrent attention to soil health enhancement, water harvesting and efficient use, adoption of appropriate technology and inputs, credit and insurance and assured and remunerative marketing. Second, we should pay attention to the knowledge skill, credit and land ownership empowerment of women farmers who carry out more than 60% of the farm operations. Third, we should promote farming systems based on high value agriculture like horticulture, and animal husbandry. Four, we should establish BioParks for marketing value added components of the biomass such as straw, leaves, husk, etc. Finally, the procurement prize should be based on the NCF proposal namely, C2 (total cost of production) plus 50%.
Among these five groups of action points, procurement price and assured marketing opportunities will hold the key to the doubling of income.