Small farmers must get benefits of high-tech methods: Kalam



Vadodara: Former President APJ Abdul Kalam on Tuesday said there was a need to address technological and physical input needs of marginal and small farmers to lift them out of poverty.

"There is a need for addressing the technological and physical input requirements by the bottom of the pyramid segment so that we can remove poverty from the farming community as a whole," he said here.

Kalam said this while speaking on the topic 'Research missions towards 350 million tonnes of food by 2020'. He later interacted with agri-scientists.

The cultivable land across the country may decline to 100 million hectares from 170 million hectares at present, while requirement of food production may touch 350 million from 250 million by the end of this decade, Kalam observed.

"There are over 607 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (agri science centres) in the country. Hence, scientists and field engineers deployed in these Kendras should work closely to achieve the objectives of Agriculture Mission."

Such scientific interventions are needed in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh which have the potential to get transformed as grain granaries like Punjab and Haryana, he said.

Speaking about farm innovation, the former President said Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) can launch a project to document works of excellence in seeds, use of fertilisers, organic farming, environmental upgradation and productivity enhancement techniques across the country.

"My study indicates 50 per cent of the agricultural workforce is deployed in small and marginal holding and many of them produce paddy or wheat less than 1 to 1.5 tonne per hectare. The benefits of high-technology agriculture reach largely to medium and rich farmers," Kalam noted.

The former President congratulated Gujarat Government for achieving more than 9 per cent annual growth in agriculture since 2003.

PTI