Increasing Farmer’s Income Our Priority
Saddled with the responsibility to drive key policies as part of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s mission to transform agriculture sector and solve the current agrarian crisis in Telangana, C. Parthasarathi, Principal Agriculture Secretary, Government of Telangana in an exclusive interview with SMART AGRIPOST, details the changes in his department and their impact in the coming months.
- How do you visualize the future scenario of agriculture in Telangana?
Ans. A massive change is underway. You are going to witness huge change in agriculture sector in Telangana in the next couple of years thanks to the overall policy initiative as well as the multidimensional efforts launched by the Hon’ble Chief Minister. Our aim is to cut the cost of cultivation and increase the net income of a farmer by ensuring that agriculture becomes remunerative.
What are the policy initiatives taken in the direction?
Ans. There are many. For instance, we have strengthened our core activities like supply of quality seeds, fertilizers, imparting training to farmers on modern farming methods, extension work (providing one AEO for every 5000 Acres of cultivable land), and ensuring minimum support price and making credit available to farmers and mechanisation of agriculture operations etc.
At the same time, the initiatives taken at the government level like crop loan waiver, improving irrigation facilities like tanks restoration /rejuvenation under Mission Kakatiya and creating crop colonies for better crop management and comprehensive land records survey and extending market facilities to farmers would change the scenario.
Also a range of other measures like distribution of cash transfer of Rs 4,000 per acre to each farmer for each season from next year is a radical step that would transform the agriculture sector in Telangana. Supportive steps like 24/7 supply of electricity to all farmers from January 1, 2018 is a major step that would ease the life of distressed famers of Telangana.
Explain some of your specific priorities as Agriculture Secretary.
Ans. We want to transform Telangana into a seed hub of India. The climatic conditions in the state are suitable to achieve this. We have conducted many major workshops, seminars and conferences on seeds here and our efforts are yielding results. We have also launched an initiative to eliminate spurious seeds from market and severe punishments are meted out those who violate the laws.
What is being done to encourage seed growers?
Ans. The farmers have to be encouraged to take up seed production and supporting the development of seed growers’ cooperatives/clusters is in the scheme of things. Credit subsidies or other forms of input subsidies may be provided to the seed farmer that will help moving towards the goal of transforming Telangana into global seed hub. This will also help the farmers improve their net profits.
There is need for the establishment of community seed banks at mandal level and seed warehouses at district level. This is required keeping in view of the seed production season/location for maintaining the seed quality standards till the seed is supplied to the farmer. These steps would be based on the local climatic conditions.
What is the role of technology in seed development?
Ans. Cost effective technologies need to be identified for vegetable seed production. There is a lot of scope for export of vegetable seed owing to highly favourable agro-climatic conditions in and around Hyderabad. This is one area which can bring good income to farmers and make them prosper.
We will develop some model villages like the one – Ankapur – in Nizamabad district. This village has gained popularity all over the country as farmers from far and wide visit here to see the development on the ground. We want to create more Ankapurs. We can demonstrate how seed production can change the life of our farmers.
What is about the remote and tribal villages?
Ans. To encourage seed production activity even in the remote and tribal villages, mobile seed processing plants will be handy and hasten processing and packing and also it will save time and the transportation costs. Further, high quality seed will be realized even in remote and tribal villages. The Hon’ble Chief Minister is committed to take this revolution to all corners of the State.
What are the immediate actions on the seed development front?
Ans. Development of Seed Park is already on the cards for developing infrastructure & providing incentives to seed industry with the active support of public sector.
Establishment of “Seed Export Promotion Council” is the need of the hour to advise the farmers and coordinate all the activities related to seed exports with the cooperation of GoI, to seed marketing. This shall work as an apex body under whose umbrella public seed sector, private seed sector, quality control agencies, OECD seed certification and agencies for export and import activities for international trade will perform.
What are you doing to help the distressed farmers?
Ans. A host of efforts are underway to bail them out from the present crisis. We are going to encourage many new crops and cropping patterns like horticulture, flowers and vegetable growing under shadenet and switchover from cost intensive cotton to efficient crops like oil seeds and soya bean etc. Efficient soil testing centres and crop colonies would help identify right crop for right soil.
The proposed cash subsidy at the rate of Rs 4,000 per acre per crop from 2018 would help our farmers. After the crop loan waiver three years ago, our farmers won’t need to totally depend on outside credit from next year on as government is giving them the inputs and cultivation costs. Round the clock free power for 18.95 lakh agriculture pump sets would surely benefit the farmers.
With a view to promote judicious use of fertilizers and to reduce the cost of cultivation, the Soil Health Card Scheme is being implemented with special vigour and so far 55.54 lakh Soil Health Cards have already been distributed in first cycle and distribution of 27.98 lakh Soil Health Cards is under progress during the second cycle. In the last two years 2050 Mini Soil testing Labs have been sanctioned in addition to existing labs.