Manipal , Sep 17, 2014 : As a number of problems faced by agriculturists unfolded in front of Minister for Agriculture Krishna Byre Gowda, the minister seems to be stressing on the mechanisation of the sector as a remedy to get over the current crisis.
Speaking to media persons after chairing the review meet here on September 16, the minister said that there is a pressing need to greatly increase the cultivation of paddy, simultaneously increasing the technology cover to the agricultural yields. He directed the officials to formulate an agricultural package in Udupi district at the earliest, comprising of technology, financial component and feasible variety of seeds to boost the paddy cultivation. The package would be extended to other coastal districts too, if it is found feasible. He lamented that although there is progress in adopting the innovative technological patterns in farming, the administrative set up right from the top has utterly failed to deliver the provisions of technological innovations to the farmers and secure the farm growth.
The minister added there is the question of survival of the agricultural land at present. The dwindling coverage of farm land has increased the fear of farming community. Government is initiating all possible measures to sustain the agriculture and the livelihood of the farmers. He stressed farming should be preserved in order to conserve the culture.
Quality paddy seeds : The minister said the ministry has directed the department to go for sophisticated and good variety of paddy seeds that suits the soil in the particular region. The seeds, which should be of pure quality, will help to double the growth. Pointing out at the labour shortage problems, the minister added that measures would be taken to implement technology into the agricultural activities phase by phase. He stressed that mechanization in agriculture is the need of the hour. Farmers should also be introduced with the DSR (direct seeded rice) technic, along with the traditional cultivation pattern SRI (system of rice intensification). The SHGs will be assisted with subsidy to purchase agricultural equipment in association with Watershed department revolving funds.
Elaborating over the plans to support the paddy cultivation in large quantity, the minister said the department officials were directed to take up agricultural related issues in the form of campaign. The campaign should target at helping out the farmers and spurring the paddy growth. Lending agri equipment
Krishna Byre Gowda said the government had made an agreement with SKDRDP to set up 186 model units to lend the agricultural equipment on rent basis to the farmers. The government has released Rs 70 crore. It is 75:25 per cent ratio in fund sharing between the government and SKDRDP.
One unit will cost Rs 75 lakh, which would help the small and marginal farmers. The price fixed per hour to rent the agriculture equipment would be very less compared to the market price.
Staff shortage : Udupi district has been provided with 17 staff along with an additional 17 personnel through outsourcing to overcome the shortage of staff in the department. The minister assured that measures were taken to overcome the shortage and technical graduates are recruited to handle the field work. As many as 740 employees were recruited across the State through outsourcing and 280 employees were borrowed from Sericulture department. As many as 1100 technical persons are recruited through ATMA programme.
Referring to the K-Kisan programme, the minister said that the provision of K-Kisan programme would help to document the data of each farmer for the purpose of account. It should help the farmers to get the subsidy amount directly to their account, whenever they purchase agriculture equipment. All the farmers in the State would be provided with soil health cards by the government in another two years. The officials will go to the farmers and test the soil sample. This would help the farmers to feed appropriate fertilizers, nutrients and micro nutrients to the soil.
Agri Varsity at Brahmavar : Responding to a query, the minister said the agriculture university in Brahmavar would be considered phase by phase after evaluating the nurturing stage, man power and the stabilization process. The farmers were offered Rs 1,600 as subsidy per quintal of paddy, of which State government’s share is Rs 290. The State has gone on record during 2013-14 by purchasing Rs 2000 crore of food grains at supportive price from the farmers. Agriculture Price Commission is set up to ensure justice to the farmers in terms of price to the growths. The agriculture minister assured of taking up the issue of wild animal menace with Forest Minister immediately.