By: Rajiv Saxena, Editor-ICN International
UDONTHANI, THAILAND: Agriculture is the final frontiers for any growing or developing economy in the world. The countries which have potential for bringing in green revolution have been falling behind or have stopped the efforts to undertake this endeavor. Conditions of farmers who have been giving us our daily bread and food for billions have been in dire states and they are forced to commit suicides. They are not being provided with the right inputs and technology upgradation nor any solid planning for their betterment is being made. In spite of being promised and allocated in the budgets of countries, they are still looking forward for turning of their dreams into reality. Only agriculture can build the economies very very robust for countries. Why are we lagging behind or have given up on farmers…farmers don’t even get minimum prices for survival. No cold chains or storages or community markets is available to help them. Vegetables and grains are not the only source for high proteins and a healthy diets and it can not be met with the continually rising demands with growing population of the country and as a whole of the world.
Alternatively, Fish is a very potential and cheap source of high quality healthy food for children and adults alike.
Aquaculture, aquaponics and hydroponics sound very high tech words however when put into practice is nothing more than the hard work, essential knowledge and systematic approach to grow more food for the people. It’s very cheap and cost effective and it not only produces food but creates employment and self financing with small investments. This profession, though it is most pious and necessary for the world but in developing or under developed countaries, it has lost its pride and children of a farmer are looking for menial jobs in the cities. Their families are being bargained and neglected and old parents who have been farming for ages, are all alone without support. The policies of the governments should include providing the technical knowledge free of cost to the children of farmers primarily in the institutes and agriculture colleges free of cost. It’s better than giving them doles and unemployment pensions and these able bodied young men should be brought into mainstream of agriculture to retain , regain and realize the need of farming and its objectives. India is an agriculture based economy too but it’s surprising to see in today’s context that Garlic, onion and Ginger the important ingredients of Indian diets are being imported from China and other countries..! Stressing isn’t it?
ICN is embarked on a path to help farmers and introduce latest technologies for the benefit of the farming community in India and possibly around the world wherever they need it and adopt ways n means and exchanging practical technologies existing elsewhere in the world for the benefit of producing more food for the people and to cope up with the predicted world food shortages in the coming two to three decades.
It is the concept and a practical way to adopt villages and help farmers in producing agriculture produce and providing them training and providing them technology advancements details through a dedicated team of scientists and intellectuals. On job and practical training in these green spots which are active producing farmlands small and big along with agriculture, aquaculture model projects of different sizes affordable will be used.
In south east Asia such green spots have been pretty successful. A couple of green spots have been created in Thailand and they are helpful in helping farmers and their children to live a decent life from the income of such projects. They are growing short term crops of vegetables along with cash crops too and aquaculture producing fish in ponds and taking two to three crops a year. Fish is widely eaten in this part along with vegetables and salads.
These green spots not only help the farmers but also provide fresh produce to the community. In addition to this it helps in keeping the farmers and their kin to continue with the farming and support themselves.
In Thailand some agriculture institutes are providing training to farmers children free or on scholarship basis which is a novel idea and practically possible elsewhere too. Community markets are organized which let these farmers sell their produce in these markets. Farmers are given spaces to sell n display their produce free of charge. These community markets keep moving to different locations in a week to cover an area of 50 to 60 Km and then to contiguous localities thus creating a network.
These models can work in any country and any place with the active cooperation from local farmers, bodies which undertake such rural entrepreneurship efforts with the favorable policies of governments and local bodies of the administration. India needs such projects desperately as we see to help farmers grow and prosper with efforts from both interested NGOs and govt.alike. Bigger states in India like U.P., M.P., Bihar and Rajasthan are importing their fish requirements from south and Bengal. These fish varieties are grown there only for the purpose of selling them into these states. Tons of fish arrive to be sold here. Why can’t this be grown in these states. We have all the land and water bodies available but it’s not happening possibly no efforts are being made in a manner to exploit it commercially for the farmers. Fish and vegetables with short term crops is definitely a positive and profitable alternative. Cold chains n storage facilities can be provided in clusters of with in a community of 40 to 50 Kms for easy marketing and transportation which will go a longway in alleviating the miseries of struggling farmers too.
These issues relevant for developing such green spots should be more publicized and put into practice . We must hold such workshop and seminars for the benefit of farmers and students.