Mangaluru, July 18 2018: Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Venkata Rao Nadagouda opined that loan waiver is not a permanent solution for the farmers’ plight.
“Instead, farmers have to be made financially self sustainable so that the need to avail loans does not arise at all,” said the minister.
He was speaking after inaugurating the Centre for Applied Research on Problematic Soils (CARPS) and a mobile soil and water laboratory on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Fisheries College, Mangaluru, organised by the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries University, Bidar, on the college premises at Ekkur, Mangaluru, on Tuesday.
‘Rs 10 crore needed’ : He said that the state government is in requirement of Rs 10,000 crore towards waiving farmers’ loans.
“There is a need for a comprehensive policy which enables farmer to obtain scientific price for his crop. A scientific crop index is the need of the hour, to help farmers grow crops according to the soil and climatic conditions. Plans need to be chalked out to manage with excess production,” said the minister.
Nadagouda reiterated that farmers should be assured of quality power supply, water and good returns for the crop. It is the responsibility of both the central and the state government to ensure the same. The researches conducted in higher institutions should reach farmers’ doorsteps, he opined.
The minister, however, also called upon the farmers to follow an allied agricultural model.
Venkatrao Nadagouda pointed out that the M S Swaminathan’s report on sustainable agriculture has been presented before the Central government and urged that the report be implemented.
‘Allied agri model’ : The minister called upon the farmers to preserve the fertility of soil by reducing the usage of fertilisers and by following an allied agricultural model.
“Our ancestors knew very well, the significance of protecting the natural quality of soil and, therefore, followed crop rotation pattern in agriculture. But, today, crop rotation is not followed and fertilisers are used in large quantity. As a result, soil has lost its fertility,” he pointed out.
He, meanwhile, asked the farmers to conduct soil test on regular basis.
The minister said that 20% to 30% of soil has turned saline in his constituency Sindhanur of Raichur, due to overuse of fertilisers. If the trend continues, the next generation will inherit a barren land, Nadagouda expressed worry.
Traditional methods : He further said that there is a need to go back to the traditional methods of farming. The state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, has already taken an initiation towards the same.
The minister said he had met the chief minister twice and they discussed the possibilities of implementing a zero-budget agriculture system in the state, based on the concept followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana state governments. The chief minister recently met India’s green revolution pioneer Dr M S Swaminathan in this regard and has sought his advice, explained Nadagouda.
Demands : A memorandum was submitted to the minister demanding a new college building, a state-of-the-art research laboratory, a museum, an aquarium, an upgraded model fish farm, a fish processing unit and a mechanised boat for the fisheries college.
The minister assured of trying his best to sanction a golden jubilee building for the college.
Mangaluru South MLA D Vedavyas Kamath; Zilla Panchayat President Meenakshi Shantigodu; Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries University, Bidar, Vice Chancellor H D Narayanaswamy; and Fisheries Department Director H S Veerappa Gowda were present on the occasion.
Formalin scare, reports awaited :
Minister for Fisheries and Animal Husbandry Venkatrao Nadagouda also stated that the laboratory tests on two samples of fish from coastal Karnataka sent to the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru have come back negative for formalin coating. Reports on six more samples are awaited.
Speaking to reporters after the inauguration of the Centre for Applied Research on Problematic Soils (CARPS) on the premises of Krishi Vignana Kendra, he said earlier the Department of Fisheries had tested the eight samples, and all had given negative results.
The samples were sent to the CFTRI for further confirmation. The tests were conducted following media reports expressing concern over formalin-coated fish being sold in markets in the coastal belt. “We are expecting the reports from the CFTRI in another 10 days. If the reports are positive for formalin, we will take preventive action,” he said.
Inaugurating CARPS and launching the golden jubilee celebration of the College of Fisheries, Mr. Nadagouda said the State government’s decision to waive loans of farmers was a temporary measure. He said farmers need remunerative prices for their produce. He added that the Union government was yet to act on its assurance of fixing minimum support price as per the recommendations of the M.S. Swaminathan Committee.
CARPS has been set up in the renovated 1946 building located near the Krishi Vignan Kendra on the premises of the College of Fisheries.