MS Swaminathan supports Maharashtra Task force recommendation to promote Non-chemical farming
Dated -8 March 2016
Father of Indian green revolution and chairman of National Farmers commission M S Swaminathan has hailed Maharashtra Task force mission ,formed to curb farmer suicides first report recommending state to introduce environment friendly sustainable agriculture using non-chemical farming practices and totally agreeing with Task force chairman Kishore tiwari views that there is a great opportunity for promoting an evergreen revolution leading to increase in productivity in perpetuity without associated ecological harm, In this connection M S Swaminathan reproduce the an abstract from his lecture in the Indian Science Congress in Jan 1968,
here is responce of M S Swaminathan :
8 March 2016
Dr Kishor Tiwari
Dear Kishor Tiwariji,
Thank you very much for your kind letter concerning your report on promoting non-chemical farming. I agree with you that there is a great opportunity for promoting an evergreen revolution leading to increase in productivity in perpetuity without associated ecological harm. In this connection I give below an abstract from a lecture I gave in the Indian Science Congress in Jan 1968:
I wish you continued success in the very important work you are doing.
With warm personal regards,
M S Swaminathan
an abstract from his lecture in the Indian Science Congress in Jan 1968,
“Intensive cultivation of land without conservation of soil fertility and soil structure would lead ultimately to the springing up of deserts. Irrigation without arrangements for drainage would result in soils getting alkaline or saline. Indiscriminate use of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides could cause adverse changes in biological balance as well as lead to an increase in the incidence of cancer and other diseases, through the toxic residues present in the grains or other edible parts. Unscientific tapping of underground water would lead to the rapid exhaustion of this wonderful capital resource left to us through ages of natural farming. The rapid replacement of numerous locally adapted varieties with one or two high yielding strains in large contiguous areas would result in the spread of serious diseases capable of wiping out entire crops, as happened prior to the Irish potato famine of 1845 and the Bengal rice famine of 1942. Therefore, the initiation of exploitative agriculture without a proper understanding of the various consequences of every one of the changes introduced into traditional agriculture and without first building up a proper scientific and training base to sustain it, may only lead us into an era of agricultural disaster in the long run, rather than to an era of agricultural prosperity.”
PROF M S SWAMINATHAN
Founder Chairman, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation
PROF M S SWAMINATHAN
Founder Chairman, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation
To curb the growing number of suicides, Maharashtra government should ask farmers of 14 suicide-prone districts to adopt the Sikkim-pattern non-chemical farming. This suggestion has come from the committee which was appointed by the government to look into the vexed issue.
The report filed by the committee said that the rain-sensitive cash crop in these 14 crisis driven districts has seen uncontrolled use of fertiliser, pesticide which has resulted in serious deterioration of soil health and pest virus epidemic.
“Besides, dipping of ground water level, spread of complex multiple public health and ecological issues of environmental degradation have been alarming. Therefore, farmers should adopt the non-chemical environment friendly non-toxic agrarian practices,” said Kishor Tiwari, farmer leader who is part of the committee.
Tiwari said that delay in following this recommended pratice will aggravate farmers’ distress in future. “Reintroduction of oil seed and pluses which require less water is must. It will also help restore soil quality. This agenda should be implemented to revive agriculture in drought-affected regions,” stated the report.
The report also states that to make Maharashtra drought-free, soil moisture management has to be done. “The chief minister’s dream project Jalyukta Shivar and importance of soil moisture enrichment must be highlighted. Besides, the all small water sources and rivers will have to be revived. These sources are currently dead, and hence, with the help of civil society and rural masses at large, this movement should be taken to the next level. People are already participating and turning this Jalyukta Shivar to a mission. The government has already started working with support of NGOs to supplement the state’s efforts to make Maharashtra completely drought-free,” mentioned in the report.
The main reason behind farmers’ suicide is the agrarian crisis which is the result of successive drought and crop failure. “Credit, crop and cost management is must to provide sustainable solutions and improve productivity and income flow in the rural economy. Hence, the farm distress mission is focussed on this two-point agenda. The distress management relief plan will provide food and health security, better farm credit facilities in the existing network. There should be steps to provide water and electricity to every farmer, better education facilities in the affected region, livelihood management, more job opportunities under MGNREGA and Mudra scheme. There should be improved, zero pendency and corruption-free local governance, proper implementation of programmes and welfare schemes, better law and order situation in these 14 districts of the mission,” added the report.
More farm credit, food security key to ending financial distress
The committee appointed by the government to look into the farmers’ suicide issue has said that the state should offer more farm credits by introducing policies to end financial distress of debt-ridden farmers.
“The long-term sustainable farm credit policy has been drafted by VNSS (Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavlamban) mission, which is the ultimate solution to curb the farm credit crisis and end economic exploitation and venerability responsible for the present acute farm distress. Presently the fund infusion for local value addition and post harvest holding and fair marketing facilities is too limited to cover even 10% distress farmers in the region. We have to look into these core issues with sustainable solutions safeguarding stake holder interest,” stated the report.
The farm credit diversion and detail petition has been lodged with the Centre and RBI-NABARD. Beside farm credict, food security is also crucial in the drought-affected region. “State government has started giving food security to around 7 million farming families. We are further extending it to deprived farm labourers and landless farmers under NFS. Hence, we are targeting to cover all needy and distressed people under food security in the drought-hit 14 districts by March. This will give average annual relief of Rs6,000 to every family in the form of food grain,” said Kishor Tiwari, farmer leader who is part of the committee.
The committee’s report said that they have also given suggestions on improvement of health services. “In recent past, annual health expenses of farm families in distressed area have increased tenfold. Every farm family having changed food habits and life style is suffering with non-communicable diseases and critical illness is adding fuel to acute distress. Hence, the committee suggested improvement in health insurance cover. The health services are pathetic due to continuous negligence and hostile governance, but this mismanagement of health administration is the result non-availability of health professionals,” stated in the report.
It states that the present health insurance cover is not covering all the illnesses and procedures which are common in rural Maharashtra. “There is an urgent need give proper health insurance cover that will provide free health care. There should be a special drive to improve the public health system and we need a complete action plan,” stated the report.