Sunday, May 22, 2011


Our economists are stating that India is vibrant and it’s going to be one of the super powers by 2025, I am confused… what kind of super power it’s going to be, is it in software, defense power, Industrial development or agriculture? Being an agriculture enthusiast, my hopes and horizons are diminishing due to violent economic reforms. While the governments are grabbing all the farm lands in the name of Economic reforms, how can we expect the India as super power in agriculture? When all the farm lands are diverting to non agriculture usages like Industrial corridors, Special economic zones, It industries, Airports, Power plants and sea ports, how can we ensure the India’s food security?

Now the rural India turned violent during the protests over the forcible acquisition of farm lands i.e. in Noida & Agra in Utter Pradesh, Ambala in Haryana, Mansa in Punjab, Singur in West Bengal , Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Mangalore & Sullia in Karnataka, and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh. Thousands of acres of land being forcibly transferred to industries in the name of development by devastating the fertile lands and the government is promising that it will provide the employment to the displaced farmers as resettlement. I have a big question that what kind of employment positions will be given to the farmers in SEZs, Industries and power plants? Most of our Indian farmers are qualified with mediocre education and they are not technocrats, so…. imagine that these refugee farmers should work as porters, gardeners, scavengers or peons. Nevertheless, why should farmers dispense their hard earned or ancestral profitable fertile lands and why should they work for some others in their own lands?

The governments are saying that massive industrialization will improve the quality of life, I strongly agree with the same, provided that shouldn’t be harmful to other occupations. But this is a forced migration from agriculture, farmers are already self sufficient, they are creating rural employment, feeding the country and they are contributing to GDP. Why should leave their lands and change the profession... I don’t know what kind of economics these are? There are some critics in compensations of resettlements which are not transparent not reasonable to the farmers and the policy makers are favoring to the Industrialists for their personal gains by allotting the thousands of acres of farm lands. Some state governments are forcible acquiring the lands by lesser rates and reselling the same lands to Industrialists for better price. Sometimes these lands are sold and resold for higher prices changing hands to real-estate companies. It seems to be that the Governments are operating like REAL ESTATE COMPANIES and the Chief Ministers are functioning as a PROPERTY DEALERS for Industrialist by SELLING the RURAL INDIA.

Before independence most of lands were acquired by few land lords (Zamindars), after that the Government initiated land reforms and lands were distributed among landless farmers. Now the history is repeating and the lands are going to few industrialists in the name of vicious economic development. Now the farmers are very vigilant, they don’t want to loose their fertile lands and don’t want to become beggars by filthy economic policies and politicians. They are strongly protesting against forcible acquisitions and the audacious governments are using police force to restrain them which eventually turned to violence and the farm fields are becoming battle fields in all over the places in India i.e. Noida or singur or Srikakulam.

As Indian population grows, crop production need to be increased to feed them, the World Bank estimates that 1 hectare of land will need to feed 5 people in 2025 and ironically the Indian farm land has reduced by 0.43 percent to 182.39 million hectares in last five years. Indian agriculture also provides opportunities for growth, jobs and significant contribution to GDP. I strongly support the industrial development which leads to progress but protecting agriculture is important too. Governments should restrict the usage of farm land for Industrial purpose and if necessary, the land owners must be allowed as partners in the upcoming projects by allotting share or some stable income. However, we need mutually beneficial economic policies which can ensure the agriculture and industrial growth then only the agriculture and Industrialization can flourish evenly.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sci-Tech farming

Being the highest agriculture dependent country, Indian agriculture needs to adopt automation, science and technologies for better yields, those would be hand tools, farm equipment, heavy earth equipment or modern scientific technologies which need to help the farming process more efficiently. In olden days, the generic farm equipments are including Diesel engine, electric motors, Power sprayers and tractors apart from traditional equipments. The agriculture has been transforming with modern science technologies from past two decades which are helping to increase the farm productivity and reducing the human drudgery, but still lot of technologies are in research and development stage, if those are available in the market then the agriculture practices will be flexible and robust. Now the modern trend in agriculture is Information technology Satellite technology, Nano technology and Robotics.

I have some imaginative technology concepts in agriculture those might be in research or in experiments stage. Our farm equipment companies and researchers have developed a lot of small and heavy farm equipment for traditional farming needs but some kind of robotic and pneumatic mechanism are required in precision farming. If the robots are being used for weed control, that will help to reduce the herbicides usage and the produces will turn into an organic, the same way robots can be used for transplanting the seedlings to avoid intensive labor. Pneumatic technology is useful for sowing the seeds that can plant the seeds very precisely in a calculated depth according to crop variant and the pneumatic technology should be a major technology in farm equipment as hydraulics, so it requires lot of research and development.

We used to read in newspapers on few impressive innovative technologies by rural inventors i.e. electric motors can be operated remotely by cell phones, it’s very helpful to farmers in summer time since the power supply is irregular. If we think advanced intelligent machines in farming, Sensors or readers and hand held PDAs are going to be great helpful in computation and accuracy in farming. The sensors or readers can be used for measuring the fertility in the soil, so that the fertilizer input can be regulated according to the level of need, same way the potency of the pesticides on the crop. Consequently these technologies will help farmer to minimize the chemical application which leads to help in environment and economic perspectives.

An Ariel remote sensing technology also plays a major role to identify the soil properties, I wish the farmers could have the GPS kind of hand held device which is connected to satellite and render the information on soil texture, soil moisture, water resources and so on. Nano technology contribution will be more in future agriculture and food production, the Nano sensors in the field are enable the application of pesticides, intake of nutrients and water by identifying the crop pathogens and soil ingredients. Nano technology application are being used in food storage and packaging to avoid spoilage and future food products will be enhanced with color, flavor and nutrients. In developed countries, many kinds of software packages are available to track the crop harvest, fertilizers usage, planting, tillage, Inventory, expenses and so on, I wish… One day our Indian farmers may have that software and manage their farms.

I hope all these technologies will promote sustainable agriculture, food security, health and safe environment, the government must encourage private partnership to identify the new technologies in agriculture and training should be provided to the farmers.we must have an open discussion that is informed by a clear understanding of how these products are being developed and how it will be healthy and safety to the people. However, we should appreciate all the efforts of agricultural scientists and researchers for sustainability of agriculture, food security and will see how they can, should, and will do for long-term solutions.

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