And for a Friday in Mid April as Summer hots up….. some thoughts…..

Let us not complain of the sultry, oppressive heat. Let’s pray for even more sultry wether as this is the harbinger for Moisture laden clouds to be blown from the Oceans bringing in the South West Monsoon, so critical for our country. Thankfully this year it’s predicted to be a “Normal Monsoon”. Rainfall will be within 96 to 104 {aff5a224634bf574f692c8c7d068a0713fecca4ea38a30d3005107227dbb12e7}age of last 50 years average.

Though Agriculture contributes less than 17{aff5a224634bf574f692c8c7d068a0713fecca4ea38a30d3005107227dbb12e7} of our GDP, do not be fooled by Economic jargon. More than 700 Million Indians are involved in Agriculture and more than 60{aff5a224634bf574f692c8c7d068a0713fecca4ea38a30d3005107227dbb12e7} of Farming is rain dependent. The gut wrenching pictures of drought hit villagers searching for thrown plastic bottles on highways, Wagonloads of Water carried by the Railways to Latur and drought hit villages, the IPL Cricket matches being moved out of Mumbai by court orders and millions of Farmers migrating to nearbyTowns and Cities….. No…. no…. we cannot afford another crisis. We need rains.

What then is the long term solution? Bombastic newspaper Advts at election time, increasing ill defined subsidies, political loan waivers are all knee jerk. We need long term globally competitive measures. USA and EU are subsidising agriculture covertly, using latest technology, plant protection chemicals, balanced Nutrition including Drones and Sensor application to maximise output, increasing tariffs to discourage imports and massive subsidies to push Exports.

We cannot just hope to increase our Exports. Food safety and quality regulations of most countries insist on proof of tracibilty in Agriculture which means impeccable record keeping and monitoring at the Farm level, storage, Packaging and transportation level. Also domestic demand for quality products by the upwardly Mobile is steadily increasing. Last year alone India imported Apples, Kiwi fruits, Almonds etc. etc. for 18000 crores.

Let each of us try to understand Agriculture irrespective of our urban backgrounds. Let us decipher the ambitious programme set up to Double Farm income by 2022. Let us buy Indian fruits and vegetables. Let us pledge to play our part in supporting the Indian Farmer, the Empathy way, the Corruption free way, the SEEGOS way.