Nearly 55% of India’s population depends on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, the share of agriculture in the GDP has declined over the last five decades, with widening income disparity between the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors. To address this disparity, the Committee on Doubling the Farmers Income was set up by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, in April 2016.
Dr Ashok Dalwai, Chair of the Committee on Doubling the Farmers Income, and CEO of the National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), paid a visit to ICRISAT’s Patancheru campus on 7 September 2017. Addressing ICRISAT’s scientists,Dr Dalwai brought attention to the 14 volumes of “Strategy for Doubling Farmers’ Income by 2022” being published by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare. He invited feedback on the four volumes now published as drafts on the Department’s website, in addition to suggestions for the remaining volumes.
Scientists highlighted insights from ICRISAT’s projects and agro-ecological interventions, and the need to account for climate change impacts like increasing water scarcity and land degradation. They also stressed the development of agri-entrepreneurship and market linkages, and the value of investment in digital innovations for smallholders.
Dr SP Tucker, Ex. Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and Advisor to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, also sent his comments on the strategy documents – which were presented by Dr Suhas P Wani, Regional Program Director – Asia Program, ICRISAT.
In closing, Dr Dalwai made note of ICRISAT’s commitment to achieving the Prime Minister’s vision, and invited the scientists to send any other feedback on the strategy documents through email. He conveyed his regard for Director General David Bergvinson, and thanked ICRISAT for organizing the session.