'Shift to commercial crops led to farmers' financial burden'

Dr Mohan Alva stresses on need to support agri to promote Kambala

Educationist Dr Mohan Alva has said that the farmers’ enthusiasm to cultivate commercial crops has incurred them huge financial burden and has subsequently led to suicides.

Speaking after inaugurating Raitha Samavesha-2017 organised by Udupi Jilla Krishika Sangha, Alva said that the increasing number of farmers’ suicides is discouraging.

“Lack of government support and the burden of debt make farmers take up the extreme step. These days, farmers are going for cultivating commercial crops expecting huge profit and also borrow money to meet the expenditure. Farming of commercial crops requires expertise and good quality nourishment. The country witnesses an average of 15,000 farmers’ suicides in a year. Maharashtra is in the first position with 3,500 farmers’ deaths and Karnataka is next in the position,” he said.

Stating that lack of support from the government, unproductive yields and less income in agriculture have increased urban migration, Alva said that the soil is losing its fertility without the intervention of appropriate nurturing. “The farming culture is losing its sensitivity, on lines similar to that of Kannada medium schools. The government funds are inadequate and, at the same time, the allotted funds fail to reach the targets and the beneficiaries. The Agriculture Department only spends the government allotments for the maintenance of its office and staff. The distraught farmers are taken lighter,” said the educationist.

Lauding the integrated planning to augment agricultural activities in many districts in Karnataka through the Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Programme (SKDRDP), Alva said that SKDRDP is making commendable pioneering efforts to sustain agriculture among the local people. He stressed that the farmer should be made self-reliant.

Alva said raising voices for the conservation of traditional folk art Kambala does not serve any meaning until and unless agriculture is promoted with similar reverence. The folk art Kambala and agriculture complement each other, as Kambala is associated with cultivation.

He added that farmers should be exposed to innovative farming technologies to boost the quantity and quality of yields. Farmers also should go for conserving the water table by supporting percolation ponds. The borewells these days go 700 metres deep as against the earlier of 200-300 metres. He also urged to take up afforestation.

Akashavani Krishranga programme coordinator T S Prasad said the days of rainfall are decreasing year-by-year and the farmers are finding it hard to go for diverse farming activities. Agriculture is the way of life. The hardship in farming is discarded and the farmers are attracted to urban jobs with less efforts and better income, he said.

The agricultural expo organised on the occasion displayed modern farm machineries and various organic growths and fertilisers.

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