EXTRACT: "Farmers have incurred heavy losses on account of (the) failure of Bt cotton in different parts of the country." - farmer leader, Krishan Bir Chaudhary of Bharat Krishak Samaj
Adopt bottom-up approach to revive agriculture: Experts
ASHOK B SHARMA
Financial Express, January 19 2007
NEW DELHI, JAN 18: Farmers and experts have told the Knowledge Commission that top-down approach in planning has damaged Indian agriculture. It is time to initiate the process of bottom-up approach and recognise the knowledge generated by generation of farmers over centuries as the tool for resolving the present crisis.
Knowledge Commission was set up Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh in October 2005 under the chairmanship of the telecom czar, Sam Pitroda to suggest generation, dissemination and use of knowledge in all sectors of the economy.
The commission recently met exclusively for agriculture and the meeting was presided over by the panel's vice chairman Pushp M Bhargava and co-ordinated by Jayati Ghosh.
A farmer leader, Krishan Bir Chaudhary of Bharat Krishak Samaj who participated in the discussion said, "The present crisis in Indian agriculture is due to imposition of the model of capital-intensive, mechanised and chemical agriculture on small farms. Productivity through chemical agriculture has reached a plateau and factor productivity has started declining. Farmers have incurred heavy losses on account of failure of Bt cotton in different parts of the country."
Another farmer leader, Vijay Jawandhia also questioned the relevance of transgenic crops in the country. Suman Sahai of Gene Campaign questioned the flow of extension services from universities to farmers. It is time to train rural youth in extension services and this would also generate rural employment.
Devinder Sharma of Forum for Food Security & Biotechnology questioned the lack of accountability among scientists and extension staff.
GV Ramanjaneyulu of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture suggested non-chemical pesticidal management (NPM) practices and organic farming and system of rice intensification (SRI) practices as solutions to the problem.
RB Singh of the National Commission for Farmers (NCF) suggested speedy implementation of NCF recommendations.