Indore: Like most sectors, the agriculture sector has been increasingly embracing technology. But in case of agriculture, technology is utilised largely in stages relating to pre-production and production. But when it comes to post production, there is not much awareness among farmers.
This was discussed at the recently held conference on ‘Madhya Pradesh’s glorious agri-revolution’ which was jointly organised by Free Press Journal and Moneycontrol.com, in association with the state government of Madhya Pradesh.
“Every consumer is a buyer and every house can be a marketplace,” said Rajnikant Rai, CEO, ITC-Agri Business. This can only possible if farmers embrace technology to reach the consumer or buyer. This means the farmers will have to become responsible marketers too. “The government should be an enabler and help buyers reach farmers.” The ENAM (electronic national agriculture market) concept that the government introduced recently is meant to connect farmers with their future buyers. That can be a game-changer.
Apart from post-production, the farmer will also have to explore various options to increase productivity. Narendra Dhandre, DGM, Netafim stressed, “Farmers need to improve productivity and reduce rainfall dependence.” Agreeing with this, DN Pathak, executive director of the The Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) stated, “In case of soya at the national level, the productivity of the state is not low.” He reiterated that irrigation facility has not reached many regions in the state.
About 44 per cent of MP’s area is irrigated out of that only 7-8 per cent comes under micro-irrigation. “There is a need to embrace non-traditional irrigation techniques. The potential of micro-irrigation is high in MP. If the government were to focus on this technique the farmers’ income will double,” added Dhandre. He advocated adoption of intelligent cropping patterns like one where soya was grown first, potato next, and onion thereafter. This way the farmer can diversify his crop mix and also get income from three crops rather than only one.
Rai, whose company works with 10 lakh MP farmers, revealed that canal lift and tube irrigation has helped wheat production increase five times. “Compared to other states, price realisation in MP is very high.” Now, the farmers have to move towards buying quality seeds along with technologies like drip irrigation.
Dr. Rama Chari, Associate Director, Material Science group, RRCAT said, “Seed varieties have to be improved by mutation. Mutation is a natural process but when it happens naturally it can be good and bad. What we do through radiation is to accelerate the rate of mutation, and help in making crops hardy.” Chari added that before RRCAT introduces seeds that is mutated it ensures that the seeds go through a process of at least three-four years. The institution first runs the trail themselves and then passes it to agricultural universities for further trials for at least three years, and after that it is made available commercially.
Talking further about technology, she said that all technologies are good but it take few years before it bears fruits.