| Agricultural policy in India: need for a fresh look (1992) |
Agricultural research needs to be farmer-oriented so that it can generate profitable technologies suitable for various agro-climatic and socio-cultural conditions obtaining in the country. For this it will be necessary to follow both the land-to-lab and lab-to-land approaches; the former for identification of farmers’ problems, and the latter for transfer of new technologies to them. There is also a need for focusing more research and extension efforts on livestock development, improvement of pastures and grazing lands, and on increasing forage yields of various annual and perennial crops, particularly in the dry land areas of the country. The criteria used to evaluate the appropriateness of new technologies for the region should include, besides grain yield, fodder yield of crops and trees.
In most of the dry farming areas of the country, farmers traditionally follow a mix of different crops and livestock activities as a means of minimising weather induced risks. While developing new technologies for such areas this should be kept in mind and an optimum portfolio of various crop and livestock activities should be developed and extended to farmers in the region. Besides, it is also true that most of the disease resistant genes are found in plants and trees that grow in the dry land and tribal areas of the country and therefore we suggest that public investment should be made to preserve such plant species and to use them for breeding disease resistant varieties.