Mangalore, Sep 25, 2014: Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari D Veerendra Heggade delivering the presidential address at the inauguration of a twoday national conference on ‘Sustaining small holder agriculture - Issues and challenges,’ organised by Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Programme (SKDRDP) at Mahotsava Bhavan in Dharmasthala on September 24, stated that in order to streamline agriculture sector for the benefit of small farmers, there is need to merge the agriculture related departments and introduce a single window system.
He said with a department or board meant for each crop like areca, cocoa, cashew, rubber etc, a farmer who is interested in integrated farming is forced to undergo a lengthy procedure for growing different varieties of crops. This has to be avoided and a hassle-free procedure has to be put in place for the convenience of farmers he reiterated.
On matters of small and marginal farmers or unorganised farmers, he said that there was a need to organise them and connect to banks and self help groups to obtain financial support. Farmers need to change their servile mind sets and must demand what they want rather than taking whatever is given to them by the government, he said.
While welcoming the prime minister’s promise on the Independence Day address to provide toilets to every household and make the country free from open defecation, Heggade said that the first priority should be to provide drinking water facility and other basic facilities and then provide toilet facilities.
In her inaugural address, RBI Regional Director Umashankar rooted for creating financial literacy more than financial inclusion. With financial resource centres receiving positive response from the general public, the RBI has opened 10 financial resource centres in Karnataka.
Experiments with small farms : In a session on ‘Viability of small farms - Approaches and experiences from the field,’ representatives from various NGOs working with farmers presented their approach towards addressing the issues of small farmers.
SKDRDP HRD Director Mamatha Rao briefly explained the functioning of Pragathi Bandhu groups and said that some of the aspects like farm planning, labour sharing, study tours, farmers learning school had contributed to success.
“We have introduced multiple and mixed cropping, family financial budgeting, maximisation of income, planning the farming based on weekly, daily, fortnightly, annually and long term returns. Cent per cent usage of land and a proper financial planning is of utmost importance for the success of any activities taken up by a small farmer,” she noted. Bankers Institute of Rural Development (BIRD), Mangalore, Joint Director R Venkataswamy chaired the session.