Indian agriculture has been the backbone of Indian economy. It contributes a significant role in overall growth of the country. India is expected to remain an agricultural society. Past researches showed that total area in India, sown with Rabi crops reached 64.29 million hectares in 2018. Exports in agriculture constitute 10 percent of the country’s exports. Agricultural exports from India reached USD 28.09 billion during the April 2017-January 2018 with exports of Basmati. During 2017-18 crop years, foodgrain production is expected to touch 277.49 million tonnes.
Problems in Indian Farming
People are unaware about the advanced farming technology. Farmers have no understanding of modern agriculture methods to improve productivity. Majority of the farmers lack proper marketing channels and mediums to sell their products reducing their revenues. An inadequate storage facility and improper marketing channels leads wastage and results in poor agricultural exports and maintaining quality in many cases.
In 2018-19, much emphasis has been given on commercialising Indian agriculture. Some of the recent strategies planned and schemes launched in the sector are: (1) Government is planning to provide air cargo support to promote agriculture exports from India. (2) Financial department has allocated Rs. 2000 crore (USD 306.29 million) for computerisation of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) to ensure cooperatives are benefited through digital technology. (3) AGRI-UDAAN programme has been launched to boost innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture. (4) Government has launched Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) with an investment of Rs. 50,000 crore. (5) Extension of the urea subsidy to the farmers till 2020 estimated at Rs. 45,000 crore.
Farmers Fair, GBPUA&T, Pantnagar
GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUA&T), Pantnagar, Uttarakhand, popularly known as harbinger of Green Revolution in India. The university has made significant achievement in research, extension and many other fields. Regarding extension, Directorate of Extension organises “Farmers’ Fair” twice in a year. Its main purpose is to benefit the farming community. The various exhibitors expected are to be from chemical fertilisers, micro-nutrients and bio-fertilisers, tractors, farm machinery and tools pumps, motors, seed sprayers, panting materials pesticides, bio-pesticides, veterinary medicines, animal feed, food additives and beverages and herbal products. Publication houses, banks and financial institutions, government/non-government organisations, academic and research institutions are also the part of the grand event. The other activities including sale of quality seeds and planting materials, animal show, horticultural show, scientific exhibition, kisan gosthi special lectures, field visits, cultural programme are also organised in the fair.
Nearly 10,000 farmers, farm women, extension workers and development functionaries from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi always participate in the fair. The university also invites various ICAR institutes dealing with different agri‐horticultural crops, state agricultural universities (SAUs) and development agencies from public and private sectors, banks and NGOs for participation and display their latest technologies and products in the form of live specimens, charts, photograph among other ways. Stalls demonstrate the newly released varieties and improved varieties in the fair. Diverse farming practice approaches like livestock production, fish farming, honeybee cultivation, post harvest techniques are also demonstrated in the fair.
Objectives of Farmers’ Fair
- To aware the rural people about farming
- To create a single platform for farming community
- To provide updated agriculture related information to agri-professionals, policymakers, like-minded individuals, government officials and media professionals
- To promote technologies which would be helpful in doubling the farmers’ income
- To create awareness among farmers about new released varieties from Pantnagar University and its centres
Attractions of the Fair
Books and Magazines: The scientists of the GBPUA&T have written books on various topics related to development of farmers. These books are available on the stalls. Besides, the university publishes two magazines: Kisan Bharati and Indian Farmers Digest. Past data showed that various farmers take membership of these magazines and these are very helpful in farming.
Show and Exhibitions: In farmers’ fair different types of show like Animal Show, Horticulture Show, Children show are also organised. The main purpose of farmers’ fair is to sale of quality seeds and planting materials. Scientific Exhibition, Kisan Gosthi, Special Lectures, Field Visits, Cultural Programmes are also organised for farmers.
Kisan Gosthi: Kisan Gosthi including “Scientists‐Farmers Interface” is also organised for addressing farmers’ problems and intensive interactions of farmers with agricultural experts from different fields. In this programme, the farmers are being made aware about other schemes also and the information, knowledge and advisory on various crops, horticulture, livestock and poultry related questions are also being addressed by the scientists in the farmers-scientists interface programme.
Stalls: In fair various companies and firms organises exhibitions and stalls in which farmers can get the information and knowledge on various aspects. Various stalls as chemical fertilisers, micronutrients and bio-fertilisers, tractors and farm machinery, pump motors, sprayers, seeds and planting materials, pesticides and bio-pesticides, veterinary medicines, animal feed and additives, food and beverages, herbal products among other agriculture related products.
What farmers would get from the fair?
Farmers’ Fair promotes the products, brand and services for huge potential market. The fair provides opportunity to meet buyers, new agents and dealers. It provides new business venture opportunity and joint venture possibilities. The fair demonstrates and showcases the valued products and services. The platform provides opportunity to interact with the farmers and dialogue with business prospects and farmers. This types of fair provides the opportunity of professional networking with industrialist, professionals, competitors and farmers. Farmers’ fair provide live demonstrations of latest technologies and new developed ideas. The main emphasis and objective of this programme is to provide solutions to major problems faced by horticulture farmers and also create awareness about improved production technologies, crop protection and post-harvest management practices. In the fair agri-professionals, policymakers, like-minded individuals, government officials and media from all parts of India come together to have a dialogue with the who’s of Indian agriculture sector. Farmers’ fair has always been engaged in bringing together the key players of the agribusiness for strengthening the future of Indian agriculture sector.
Role of the fair in empowering farming community
The government has initiated various programmes for empowerment of farming community. Doubling farmers’ income, securing them and their endeavours, making them tech savvy, boosting agricultural research and education, and building farm-related infrastructure are some of the major goals set and being worked upon for the growth of agriculture sector and farmers’ welfare. The initial thrust to any transformation comes from awareness. In this regard, the government is inspiring themes of messaging such as ‘Lab-To-Land’, Har Khet Ko Paani and ‘Per Drop More Crop’ have raised awareness about the need to create systems that turn the farming activity into a hub of productivity and prosperity. The fair is one of the important step to empower farming community through disseminating information among the farmers.
On the basis of above data and fact, it can be said that farmers fair play an important role in empowering the farming community.
(Dr. Arpita Sharma is the Assistant Professor at Department of Agricultural Communication, College of Agriculture, GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUA&T), Pantnagar, Uttarakhand. Views expressed in the article are author’s own.)