Govt scraps farmers' 'futile' foreign tours

The agriculture department has done away with the practice of sending farmers on foreign tours to show them innovative farming methods.

Reason: The tours conducted in the past had failed to yield any result. “A review of foreign tours of farmers in the past revealed that they were not effective. The tours in the past have not yielded any result. Hence, it has been decided to do away with this programme,” Agriculture Department Joint Director (Planning) Antony said.

The department had in November last year drawn up a plan to send 1,200 farmers to Israel on a one-week tour to educate them on innovative farming methods. The department had proposed to utilise Rs 12 crore of unspent money it had for the 2015-16 financial year for this purpose. The Social Welfare Department had also offered to bear the tour expenses of SC and ST farmers, sources in the department said.

The plan was to select farmers from all 177 taluks of the state for the tour. But the department had not finalised guidelines for selecting the farmers for this purpose as it was waiting for the final approval from the government. Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda gave directions to shelve the proposal after reviewing foreign tours conducted in the past, the sources said.

The department had been sending select farmers on foreign tours every year since 2009-10. It would bear all expenses, including passport, visa and flight charges, of the selected farmers. There were complaints that many of those who went on tours in the past were workers of political parties.

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