As a definitive step towards realizing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of doubling the income of Indian farmers by 2022, a blueprint of recommendations was drawn up for establishing pilot intervention projects in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra and Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh (UP). These would then serve as examples for transformation of a further 11 districts in Maharashtra and 7 districts in UP in a phased manner by 2022.
At the National Workshop on Doubling Farmers’ Income through Scaling-up, participants discussed regional agroecological interventions, taking into account climate change impacts such as increasing water scarcity and land degradation.
- An innovative model for farmers – Knowledge-based Integrated Sustainable Agriculture Network – Mission India for Transforming Agriculture (KISAN-MITrA) – was presented at the workshop. The KISAN-MITrA model aims at increasing productivity by efficiently using available resources, reducing cost of cultivation, minimizing post-harvest losses, processing for value addition, developing value chains and linking them to markets. Another goal is to increase employment options for women and youth through skill development employment by creating microenterprises and industries in rural areas.
- Workshop participants debated the use of mechanization and information technology in agriculture (remote sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for precision farming, etc.) in order to attract youth to agriculture and to multiply benefits.
- They recommended applying the principles of Ease of Doing Business to the agriculture sector, implying a convergence and simplification of all schemes to a single online form (or digital app) that farmers could access and utilize easily. With the interlinking of bank accounts with Aadhaar (Unique Identification Number) and mobile numbers, farmers could receive remittances in their bank accounts directly. Subsequently, availing loans at low interest rates and with affordable collaterals could be made possible, especially for women farmers.
- A vital step would be to identify partners (public and private; financial, scientific and community-based institutions) to fund, implement and scale up the pilot sites. This would include using scientific innovation including integrated watershed management methodology, along with digital agriculture, market linkages and risk mitigation strategies.
- A Special Project Vehicle (SPV) for design, execution, monitoring and learning, and funding of the KISAN-MITrA was suggested to be set up.
The National Workshop on Doubling Farmers’ Income through Scaling-up was organized in New Delhi on 15-16 March by ICRISAT along with Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) and J Farms.
Sixty selected participants representing the Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DoAC&FW), national research institutions (National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Utilisation Planning, India Meteorological Department, Indian Institute of Millets Research), state agricultural universities (Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri), corporates (Tractors and Farm Equipment Limited, Mahindra & Mahindra, Jain Irrigation Systems Limited) not-for-profit foundations (Sir Ratan Tata Trust, JSW Foundation), international research centers (International Food Policy Research Institute, World Food Programme), non-governmental groups and lead farmers participated in the workshop.
Among the key speakers were General NC Vij, Director of VIF; Mr Vijay Kumar, Former Lieutenant Governor, New Delhi; Mr Dhirendra Singh, VIF; Mr SK Pattanayak, Secretary, DoAC&FW; Dr Ashok Dalwai, Additional Secretary, DoAC&FW; Dr David Bergvinson, Director General, ICRISAT; and Dr Suhas Wani, Director, ICRISAT Development Centre, ICRISAT.