Is the idea of Doubling Farmer’s Income achievable in the near future? What are the roadblocks in the path? (250)

Mentors Comments:
1. Discuss the need for DFI in India – with a picture of farm crisis at present
2. What are the goals of DFI – what areas it wants to target
3. What are the challenges
4. Suggest solutions

Past strategy for development of the agriculture sector in India has focused primarily on raising agricultural output and improving food security. Moreover, India has witnessed a sharp increase in the number of farmers suicides due to losses from farming, shocks in farm income and low farm income. This can have an adverse effect on the future of agriculture in the country, leading to food insecurity.
Doubling farmers income by 2022 is quite challenging but it is needed and is attainable.

The broad Strategy for Improving Farmers Income is needed to double farmers income are as follows-
 Improvement in agricultural output viz:
o Productivity – Area- agricultural output has to be increased through access to irrigation and technological advancement.
 Resource use efficiency or saving in cost of production;
 Increase in cropping intensity, i.e. the ratio of Net Area Sown to the Total Cropped Area – By raising short duration crops after the main kharif and after the main rabi season so that agricultural land does not remain unused for half of the productive period.
 Diversification:
o Towards high value crops like fruits, vegetables, fiber, condiments & spices and sugarcane.
o Towards other allied enterprises like forestry, dairing rather than depending primarily on crop cultivation.
 Shifting cultivators from farm to non-farm occupations – Non-farm sectors provide 2.76 times more productive employment than agriculture sector in rural areas
 Improvement in terms of trade for farmers or real prices received by farmers- Use of CPIAL (Consumer price index for agricultural labour) as a deflator to change nominal farm income to real farm income.

Following are the constraints in the path of doubling the income of farmers are as follows as highlighted in Niti Aayog’s Inida @75 document-

1. Use of outdated and inappropriate technology is the main reason for low productivity of crops and livestock.
2. Given the pre-dominance of small and marginal farmers in Indian agriculture, affordability becomes a significant constraint on
technology adoption by farmers.
3. There exist several bottlenecks hampering on-farm adoption of technology developed in public sector.
4. Agricultural research in the country is constrained by resource inadequacy, regulations and intellectual property rights (IPR).
5. Multiple private and public sources supplying different information to farmers create confusion.
6. A huge gap exists between the demand for and supply of skills in agriculture, hindering diversification, adoption of precision agriculture and on farm post-harvest value addition.
7. India has not caught up to the rest of the world in terms of technology, which has led to the dominance of inefficient production practices, such as flood irrigation, at the farm level. Renewed focus on on-ground absorption of technology, market intelligence, skills and extension and modernising trade and commerce in agriculture are needed to modernise agriculture in India.
8. Both production and marketing suffer due to the absence of adequate capital.
9. Low scale is a serious constraint on the adoption of improved practices and in the input and output market.
10. Erratic rainfall and drought are the most important factors affecting farmers.

The Measures Taken by Indian Government in the recent past in this direction are as follows-
A) Institutional Reforms
 Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Soil health card, and Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana- Aiming to raise output and reduce cost.
 Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana- To provide insurance against crop and income loss and to encourage investment in farming.
 Interlinking of rivers – To raise output and farm incomes.
 ‘Operation Greens’ to address price volatility of perishable commodities like Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP).
 PM Kisan Sampada Yojana to promote food processing in a holistic manner.

B) Technological Reforms
 Initiating E-NAM: The National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
 Various Technology mission like Technology mission on cotton, Technology Mission on Oilseeds, Pulses and Maize etc.

C) Various initiatives like National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture, NICRA etc to make the agriculture sector more climate resilient.

D) Schemes for Agricultural diversification

To secure future of agriculture and to improve livelihood of half of India's population, adequate attention needs to be given to improve the welfare of farmers and raise agricultural income. It is essential to mobilize States and UTs to own and achieve the goal of doubling farmers’; income with active focus on capacity building (technology adoption and awareness) of farmers that will be the catalyst to boost farmers income.

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