Transforming agriculture in Telangana -Dr. Ramesh Chennamaneni
Promotion of small farmer economy will help escape the six-decade-old crisis and boost the sector in State
Agriculture in Telangana, particularly being carried out by small and marginal farmers, is poised for a rapid transition in the coming years. More so, after the historical announcement of a major policy on promotion of small farmer economy by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao at the recently-held plenary.
The first full-scale Budget of 2015-16 addressed the key issues of debt-waiving, low productivity, increasing input costs and stagnant public investments. Apart from substantial subsidies for farmers by way of direct transfers, the announcement by the Chief Minister sends a clear message towards organising the farming community to overcome issues pertaining to economies of scale.
This will enable agriculture in the State and the small farmer economy, in particular, to come out of the persistent crisis of the last six decades. The announcement addresses the major challenge of designing and implementing of a transition process that would ensure increasing yields and incomes, food and nutrition security while conserving and enhancing natural resources.
Why is this approach so crucial for small and marginal farmers, consumers as well as the community at large?
Firstly, as people depend crucially on natural resources, effective food security policies must be associated with sustainable management of land, soil, water, air, pollution, landscapes, biodiversity, forests. The focus also needs to be on adaptation and mitigation measures regarding climate change strategies, genetic and other natural resources.
The more natural resources will degrade, the less food will be available. Therefore, food and nutrition issues are strongly interrelated, thereby increasing the need for sustainable management of natural resources. This requires a comprehensive agricultural and food policy, in which complex and diverse nature-related institutions and governance structures can ensure achieving the twin objectives.
These efforts are reflected in the ongoing and proposed Mission Kakatiya, Haritha Haram, soil testing and documentation, irrigation management, organic fertilization, agricultural landscaping and biodiversity. Hence, planners, implementing agencies and researchers should explore the link between food, nutrition security and management of natural resources as well as the role of science, technology, education and extension in natural resource management and agriculture transformation. Sustainable management of these resources through collective action remains a major challenge.
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TelanganaToday.news, 27 April, 2017, https://telanganatoday.news/transforming-agriculture-in-telangana