Agri India

For thousands of years rural communities in India have depended on farming for their livelihood and for personal sustenance. Today, in the twenty-first century, the livelihood, prosperity and the well-being of these communities is alarmingly jeopardised and requires urgent intervention. The advent of market economy has made agriculture an unviable occupation. As a result, the sector is currently witnessing a phenomenon of multiple suicides by bankrupt and desperate farmers; which in recent years has assumed epidemic proportions.

Statistics tell us that every 30 minutes a farmer commits suicide in our country. Indebtedness is cited as the primary reason. But, this debt is an upshot of poor yields accrued over a period of time aggravated by absence of appropriate crop management advice, unscientific cultivation practices, use of wrong, untimely, unnecessary, and excessive pesticides and fertilizers, poor market linkages; poor risk mitigation mechanisms, etc.

Indiscriminate and excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers leads to build up of disease and pest resistance and causes environmental pollution. It also leads to unacceptable levels of pesticide residue in the grass and grain affecting health of both animals and humans. Such negative impacts can be corrected through Integrated Nutrient and Pest Management (INPM). The Organisation has initiated v-Agri programme to provide INPM services to farmers by utilizing the IT infrastructure at its disposal.

The programme addresses the following primary problems:
» Inadequate extension support to farmers;
» Declining soil fertility due to inappropriate/imbalanced nutrient use;
» Increasing severity of pest and disease pressure;
» Poor water management practices;
» Post harvest losses;
» Declining profits due to increasing production costs;
» Unfavourable market linkages;
» Inadequate credit support; and
» Non-existent risk management ¡V crop insurance ¡V support.

Major Interventions of v-Agri Programme

The following are the major constituents of the programme:

1. v-Agri Model -- Providing Best Crop Management Technology Support: Provides know-how on best crop management practices that will help farmers achieve yields comparable to global standards, both in quantity and quality terms. This model is applicable to both aqua-culture and agriculture.

2. v-Agri Software -- Use of ICT for Providing Crop Management Technology Support: Uses the IT infrastructure in villages to provide services to farmers on real-time basis throughout the crop cycle; at regular intervals and whenever the farmers require the same.

3. Special Programmes - Laying Out Demonstration Plots in Coconut: Demonstrates the best coconut crop management practices, including promotion of inter crops

4. Quality Inputs Supply: Helps farmers purchase best quality inputs like seeds, fertilizers and pesticides – especially the bio-fertilizers & pesticides - by disseminating information and developing linkages with providers of the inputs.

5. Capacity Building of Farmers: Train farmers in the latest INPM practices.

6. Soil Health Services: Provide soil testing services to the farmers so as to create awareness on soil health.

7. Vermi-compost units and use of vermi compost: Help farmers set up vermi-compost units with support from department of Horticulture and encouraging the use of vermi-compost.

8. Organic Farming: Create awareness on organic farming and equip farmers for a gradual shift to organic inputs –bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides – from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

9. Marketing Support: Provide support through Safal National Exchange and facilitate such other market linkages benefiting farmers.

10. Agri Enterprises: Promote value addition opportunities to crop-yield, as also creation of additional livelihood sources in the sector:
  • Diary units
  • Bee Keepers Associations
  • Coconut Processing units
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