The unplanned discharge of sewage from industries is also finding its way to the soil and groundwater. The latest researches in DAN technology has made it possible to select genes and introduce the produce the productive ones into hybrid seeds with better productivity and nutritional value. Tissue culture is now one of the most important researches in bio-technology and has helped in introducing genetically modified plants with immense commercial value. The agriculture scenario is faced today with the discussed problems of low productivity, harmful and inferior crop quality and environmental pollution.
This is the reason that the best efforts of our agriculture scientists have failed to increase productivity, in certain crops, over the last few decades. But the latest techniques employed like photosynthetic activity, calculation of salt and moisture tolerance, overcoming fertiliser fatigue and resistance to pests and diseases are definitely going to be a boon. They have also succeeded in the early detection of crop infection through secondary metabolism, which will help the farmers in taking timely steps to their crops. The method is changing now and instead of solely depending on fertilisers, the use of organic and green manures are being propagated for maintenance of soil-health and an eco-friendly environment. Chemical pesticides are now being increasingly reduced and bio-friendly ones likes neem, saal and mahua, insects friendly to the crops but deadly for the pests, are being recommended. IPM or integral Pest Management is now the buzzword.
Training is also being imparted in timely removal of weeds and crop residues through surface ploughing. Mixed cropping and diversified agriculture is the need of the time. This is a planned branching of the facilities available and inter-related activities such as fish farming, forestry, piggery, poultry farming, bee keeping, sericulture etc. The small farmers are being imparted technical and financial knowledge in planning one or more such ventures in addition to cropping for better returns. The majors in farming have also entered diversifications
Farming of vegetables and oil-seeds and pulses are in the category of rotatory cropping, helping in the utilization of farms in a planned manner. However the monopoly of the middle men and whole sellers in the market have been the reason why the actual farmers, specially the smaller ones, do not get their requisite return. These are being sold at price 400 per cent more then what the farmer actually gets in the market. The consumer and the farmer and both losers in the bargain whereas the middlemen heavily line their pockets.
Another major disadvantage we face is a proper system of storage for food grains purchased by the government agencies like Food Corporation of India. Our storage agencies are brimming over with stocks of nearly 75 million tones, of which half are rotting away, not even being fit for use as cattle fodder.
This inglorious wastage of precious food grain, even as humans die starvation death in the interior, is a sad reflection of our poor planning. The starvation deaths, repeatedly in Kalahandi, Orissa where couples are forced to sell off their children, for a few kilograms of grain, tells the tragic story. Our Public Distribution System today is catering only to the Economically Weaker Sections but a survey details that the grains, of far superior quality, are available in the open market for the same price.
The total callousness and irresponsible attitude of our government machinery, in ensuring purchase of decent quality food grains, at the government fixed price, needs to be investigated. The beneficiaries are the larger farmers, the rich and well off, who have political clout and who grease the palms of the officials to pass on substandard food grain to our state purchasing agencies.
Without imparting confidence to the smaller farmers, in getting a reasonable price for their produce, our agricultural production cannot reach the levels envisaged to feed our teeming millions. For this we need brutally forthright officers who can blunt the efforts at corruption and motivate their task force into doing a proper job of the task allotted to them and for which they are handsomely paid for. It would also need the efforts of NGOs to properly motivate the smaller, illiterate farmers and ensure that they are not beguiled into selling their produce to fleecers. The other agencies like Doordarshan and All India Radio should repeatedly broadcast the framed guidelines to the rural masses so that they can stand up for their rights.This is what will give them confidence.
The proper utilization of our agricultural produce by State agencies will also ensure that there are no starvation deaths in our country even as millions of tones of foo grain rots away in our State storage. This is the need of hour.