There is no dearth of technological advancements in agriculture. But for the farmers, the focus is production driven rather than market related agriculture, Dr E. Vadivel, Project Officer (Precision Farming) at the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said.

To realise the State’s vision of doubling food production, increasing the peasants’ income at least two– three times and enhancing crop productivity, the extension department should bring the farmers under a cluster or group, the scientists should give packaged technology and the farmers should adopt similar practices and techniques. “Going forward, the challenge before each of us is huge,” he said, highlighting the pitfalls and suggesting ways to make agriculture a sustainable proposition.

He was speaking at the concluding session of the 78th Scientific Workers’ Conference.

“The State not only tops in urbanisation, but today’s younger generation are neither able to demark and identify their land holding nor are they aware of the inheritance. It’s a pity. Farm holdings are highly fragmented and the small farmers lack unity. The challenge therefore is in linking these small farmers to high end markets,’ he said

He urged the scientists to develop strategies and tech packs to transform from production-driven agriculture to market-driven agriculture. “For this, scientists should give a packaged technology. Today, each of the 40-odd departments in the University are providing different technology and it is not in sync,’ Dr Vadivel observed.

‘Extension workers should also shift to market extension and farmers should form groups and adopt similar practices to sustain in agriculture,’ he said and stressed the need to promote secondary agriculture by promoting manufacturing and services under agriculture.

Mr S. Damodaran, Minister for Agriculture, Government of Tamil Nadu, said the farm holdings were highly fragmented, falling from an average of 0.48 hectares in the early 50s to 0.16 hectares at present. He called upon the extension department officials and the Farm Varsity scientists to evolve strategies and tools for the small and marginal farmers, look at village adoption measures more aggressively and encourage them to work in group/ clusters to reap benefits.

lnr@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on June 29, 2012)
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