'Make agriculture an attractive proposition'

Two-day International Conference on Agricultural Marketing begins

He was speaking after inaugurating an International Conference on “Agricultural Marketing in the Context of Changing Global Economic Order”, organised jointly by the Institute of Development Studies of University of Mysore, the UAS, Bangalore and Karnataka State Agricultural Marketing Board, Bangalore at B N Bahadur Institute of Management Sciences auditorium here.

Expressing concern at the youth in villages becoming averse to agriculture, he said there was a need for more reforms and changes in the farming sector to hold back people from quitting the sector.

The intervention should help farmers upgrade themselves in terms of using the technology and help meet the challenges in the market. All farmers - small and big land holders should be brought under a common platform.

Wide gap

“There is a wide gap between what the technology the farmers are adopting and what they are supposed to be using to increase the income from agriculture. The farmers should be empowered through direct marketing system. So far, only big farmers are benefited from the existing market practices, while ryots holding small lands are badly hit. Further division of land holdings in the coming years will be a challenge for policy makers,” the Vice-Chancellor opined.

Sharing his experience with a project on encouraging farmers to grow biofuel plants, Narayana Gowda said the project helped the farmers increase their income by three-fold. About 8000 families benefited from it and youth who were on the brink of quitting farming returned to agriculture, he said.

Recommendations

In his keynote address, C Ramasamy, President, Indian Society of Agricultural Economics and former vice-chancellor of Agricultural University, Coimbatore said the Government could establish an agricultural marketing council, comprising both public and private stakeholders to monitor, investigate, analyse and advise market interventions.

It can also administer national food reserves through an innovative mix of private and public grain procurement and lease storage facilities to private sector and open state borders for movement of agricultural commodities to enable the farmers to realise higher prices.

The private firms should be encouraged to construct storage facilities on long term basis. “The issues in agricultural marketing are diverse and cannot be handled by government institutions alone.

To encourage the private sector to make investments under PPP mode, the regulatory framework needs to be changed significantly like liberalisation of norms for extending credit facilities to entrepreneurs for agricultural marketing activities and allow private entrepreneurs to establish market yards and other related facilities and making provisions to all o private entrepreneurs to cover price and yield risks for farmers, the expert said.

Principal Secretary of Cooperation department Dr Amita Prasad others were present.

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