| Agricultural policy in India: need for a fresh look (1992) |
The objectives of income and employment generation should be sought to be achieved by means of (i) diversification by marginally switching from foodgrain crops to high-value labour-intensive crops like vegetables, fruits, etc., wherever feasible, in both irrigated and rain-fed areas of the country; and (ii) by adoption of a watershed-based strategy of agricul-tural development on the lines of Karnataka’s model in the rain-fed areas of the country. The pursuit of this objective will also help in productively utilising the vast human resources that we have available in abundance in the country and whose development has not received the attention and resources it deserves.
For ensuring economic viability of marginal and small farmers who now account for 76% of the total operational land holdings in the country, it will be necessary to impart new skills to them and strengthen the traditional skills required for taking up new high-value and labour-intensive activities. This can be done by educating, motivating, training and enabling them to adopt the new activities. Many complementary and supplementary enterprises such as vegetable production, poultry, sericulture, bee-keeping, pisciculture, milk production etc., could be taken up by marginal and small farmers. These activities would benefit them most if they are organised into co-operative societies, preferably on the Anand pattern. Such co-operatives alone could secure for their members a fair price for their produce and an equitable distribution among them of the value-added through processing, storage, marketing etc. Since the produce of most of these activities is perishable, it will be necessary for the government and producers’ co-operatives to invest a substantial amount in creating the necessary processing and storage facilities.