Experts huddle for agri growth

'Entrepreneurial spirit' in farmers to increase income from dairy, cocoon rearing & fisheries

By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPOnDENT in Ranchi
  • Published 15.10.17
  •  
Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Poddar (third from left) attends the conclave at Dhurwa in Ranchi on Saturday. (Hardeep Singh)

Ranchi, Oct. 14: Agriculture stakeholders such as farmers, social workers, politicians, experts and scientists from across Jharkhand today sat in a huddle to mull revitalising the farming sector.

Addressing existing challenges, the conclave hosted by Samajik Arthik Evam Sansadiya Adhyayan Kendra, Ranchi, also discussed how organic food, dairy, fisheries, tussar silk and forest produce could offer new vistas of employment and income for Jharkhand farmers.

Radhakrishna Kishore, chief whip of BJP in Jharkhand Assembly, pointed out the huge potential for growth across various sectors.

"Jharkhand needs 28 lakh MT milk a year but production is just 18 lakh metric tonne. Similarly, 1.40 lakh MT fish is required against about one lakh MT produced. We also require 60 lakh MT foodgrain and produce only 45 lakh MT. So, we have huge market in Jharkhand itself," he said.

Kishore apart, Rajya Sabha MP Mahesh Poddar, Gumla MLA Shiv Shankar Oraon, scientists such as former director of Plandu-based Horticulture Centre Shivendra Kumar, Birsa Agricultural University former professor D.K. Singh Drone, Medha Dairy director B.S. Khanna, Jharcraft former director Dhirendra Kumar, secretary of host organisation Ayodhya Nath Mishra and farmers from Pithoria, Namkum, Ratu and Bero in Ranchi district took part in the conclave.

In the backdrop of farmer suicides, speaking broadly on increasing income from agriculture, Poddar said it needs to be infused with the spirit of entrepreneurship.

He also requested the state government to purchase paddy from farmers at Rs 1,600 per quintal minimum support price (MSP).

"Normally, farmers have to sell their paddy at just Rs 1,000-1,100 per quintal to middlemen, who sell it to the open market at a higher rate. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has kept 2022 as the year to double the income of Indian farmers," he pointed out.

Former Jharcraft director Kumar said cocoon production offered huge scope in Jharkhand. "Natural forests in the state provide ample scope for cocoon production. Our tussar is best in the world and we should cash in on it," Kumar said.

Experts also pointed out that goat-keeping and poultry were still under-explored in the state.

"Every year, Rs 500 crore goes out of state to import milk (from other states). How we can keep this sum in Jharkhand itself is a challenge as well as an opportunity," Khanna, managing director of Medha Dairy, the state-owned dairy, said.

Farmers pointed out their limitations, citing problems in irrigation, marketing their produce and middlemen.

Samajik Arthik Evam Sansadiya Adhyayan Kendra secretary Mishra said findings in the deliberations would be sent to the state and the Centre and also shared among farmers and panchayat heads.