Agri Business

An ode to Indian farmer

| Updated on February 27, 2020

Reams have been written on the issue of doubling farmers' income, the delegates at the BusinessLine Agri Summit were surprised to listen to a poetic rendition on the subject. Nadir Godrej, Chairman, Godrej Agrovet, a poet by passion, chose to discuss the subject by penning lines that explained the situation of the farmers in a unique way. No wonder the audience was enthralled. Here it goes:

Doubling Indian Agricultural Production

By Nadir Godrej

While agriculture plods along

The other sectors have been strong.

Our service sector is the star.

And industry has come quite far.

And yet all of us do believe,

That very soon we can achieve

A doubling of our production.

We can conclude by deduction

That rapid growth is required

To escape the bog in which we're mired.

Now at first glance it would seem

That this is an impossible dream.

Our farmers haven't seen the light

And land and water are finite.

Excuses one will always find

But true success lies in the mind.

If we want to do a lot

We must cut the Gordian knot!

They say that land is no more made,

(Except in Holland and Cuffe Parade).

Nor can we count on very much.

For agriculture the situation's such

That land is lost to other trades

For factories, townships, escapades.

This is a problem, yet all the same,

We can still play the high yield game.

Much more can grow in every field

If only we improve the yield.

It's done abroad, it's tested here

And yet somehow we always fear

It won't be done in the field

And still we see that the yield

Of hybrid corn is rising fast

Ten tons per hectare's been surpassed.

Though corn is priced less than wheat

On value yield it can now beat

All other cereals by a lot

Much growth therefore can be got

By a simple change in crop.

That's one more way that we can stop

The paradigm of measly growth.

Now strangely India has been loath

To certify all GM food.

I don't know how this should be viewed.

Of course we should avoid grave risk

But every process should be brisk.

If others see a benefit,

We should also do our bit.

Bath water should be thrown away

But we should let the baby stay.

GM's a tool that we should wield

For further growth in our yield.

And inputs also play a role

Higher usage helps the goal.

But India lags far behind.

In China, though, one does find

The usage is many fold

And what if we could be that bold?

Now IOT in the field

And robotics can help our yield.

Startups can show us the way.

Technology can save the day.

Of this I can be very sure

With my experience with Omnivore.

IOT on field and farm

Has a very special charm.

Robots with Al have been tried

Technical services can be supplied.

Fin Tech can play a major role

Market linkage could be a goal.

And don't you think it would be fine

If all of this, we could combine?

Our yield would go even higher

But to be a real high flyer

We also need to multi crop

Thirty percent is just a drop.

Why with three crops on all our land

Our goal for growth would be in hand.

But water would then be required.

The supply's much less than is desired.

But for recycling there's great scope

And that is what gives us some hope.

But right now no one seems to care

And if it's free, that's only fair.

We'd solve the problem in a trice

If only we'd give it a price.

Much of the rainfall we could store.

Heavy users wouldn't use more.

Sugarcane would moderate

And farmers would operate

With sprinklers and drip irrigation

And soon we'd find that in our nation

Demand, supply would quickly match

And we'll cultivate every patch

Not just once or even twice

But while we're at it, why not thrice?

For those who think that water's free

And so refuse to pay a fee

We could allow a tiny quota

A kindly gesture for the voter!

But subsidizing irrigation

Doesn't really help our nation

If subsidies aren't paid when due

And companies are left to stew!

So far l've talked of crops in fields

And shown how to improve the yields.

Often the value from horticulture

Is greater than from agriculture.

A change of crop can yield much more.

This way of growth is very sure.

Vertical agriculture and hydroponics

Could also serve as useful tonics!

But of the Agri GDP

One third's animal husbandry.

The dairy growth is very steady

But poultry's growth is truly heady.

But the industry always dreads

Every time a rumour spreads!

Consumers take the strangest calls

Consumption then steeply falls!

Chikungunya, Corona virus

Quite strangely tend to mire us

In prices that fall very low.

For poultry that's a major blow!

One thing we should understand

Fast dairy growth requires more land.

If we multi-crop the field

And improve the fodder yield

Our dairy sector would then grow

And milk will surely overflow.

But the growth might be scanty

If we permit the vigilante

To disrupt the trade in cows.

The government should quickly douse

This fiery threat to life and limb

The situation's very grim.

If on this path we choose to go

Our dairy growth will then be slow.

In fact, for dairy to succeed

We need to improve the breed.

There is a tool that we can wield

And that of course is higher yield.

Now normal breeding's very slow.

There is a faster way, we know.

We asked ourselves what could then be,

The cutting edge technology.

In agriculture Israel leads

And IVF met our needs.

Now cross-breeds are a compromise

And that approach once seemed wise.

The compromise that one would see

Was between yield and immunity.

Human nature is always loath

To give up something as we want both!

Of course we want the highest yield

And Indian immunity in the field.

The best yield from both sperm and egg

While immunity stands on another leg!

Not from parents but something other

The placenta of the surrogate mother!

But even more than the breed

We need to focus on the feed.

There are solutions we have got.

Precision feeding will be hot!

Now poultry is one way to go.

There are two products as we know

There is the egg and then there's meat.

The egg is an amazing thing

And I for one could always sing

Its praises, for it's packaged well

Within its own protective shell.

And in it you will surely find

Fine nutrients of every kind.

It can be cooked in many ways

Prepared in minutes, not hours or days.

And I don't want to sound contrarian

But sterile eggs are vegetarian.

Not just an ordinary view but rather,

The considered view of our nation's father.

For both eggs and meat, you should know

That poultry feed conversion's low.

Unlike cows they don't eat grass

But in a sense they also pass.

Soya meal and corn are fed

And though perhaps it could be said

That these are foods that we might eat

No one would treat them as a treat.

And can we make the case much better

Not just in spirit but in letter

Make a feed that won't compete

With any food, that humans eat.

Can we fulfil such a dream?

With newer enzymes it would seem

The digestibility could be bettered

Locked nutrients could be unfettered.

And what would be your reactions

To feed made from low cost extractions?

New technologies will enter

Protein that's made in a fermenter.

I'm not kidding this is for sure

No need for land anymore!

I'm sure you'd all be delighted,

A golden era has been sighted

With rapid poultry growth in store

And the ability to feed many more

Without the use of added land

Can help us meet the food demand.

Now climate change can be a threat

It's often dry or very wet.

Sea levels could rise very high

And in the summer we often fry.

Act we must and pretty soon.

Trump now plays a different tune

But other nations will do what's right

And for this cause, we must all fight.

The price of going green seems high.

But better technology is nigh.

Broad spectrum solar can save the day.

Biomass is another way.

Green energy capital costs will fall.

We won't need more coal at all.

CO2 won't rise but fall.

Some may find this claim quite tall.

When green energy is cheap

We can take a tremendous leap

Make CO2 into methanol

Or even into ethanol.

The age of fossil fuels will end

Our climate then will slowly mend.

Our government can play role

And help us all achieve the goal.

Land ceilings could be slowly eased

Large tracts of land could then be leased,

A water pricing policy,

Encouragement of R&D

And relaxing the APMC.

The higher duty on edible oil

Will help grow more on our own soil.

Indeed, a lot needs to be done.

And Oil Palm could be the way to go

Many benefits would surely flow.

But when we all work as one

Obstacles can be surmounted.

Our successes will be counted.

Our agriculture will go far.

This sector will become the star

And help the other sectors grow

Wealth for all will surely flow!

Published on February 27, 2020

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like