Women farmers emerging as decision-makers, innovators in agro - based systems:

Women adopted specific strategies to further their interests in the context of agriculture based livelihoods, challenging men as sole decision-makers.They are transitioning from workers to innovators and managers, a recent study has found. Women in societies practicing agriculture have started challenging the norm of men being sole decision-makers. They are transitioning from workers to innovators and managers, a recent study has found. Women were adopting specific strategies to further their interests in the context of agro- based livelihoods, the study found. The process, however, is far from straightforward.

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FARM HEALTH IN TIMES OF CORONA:GOVT MUST ENSURE THE AGRI SUPPLY CHAIN REMAINS UNINTERRUPTED

After the announcement of nationwide lockdown for 21 days, the FM declared a relief package of Rs 1.76 lakh crore. At a time when large crowds of poor and marginalised people are struggling to sustain; and the perils of hunger, joblessness, disease, and death looming large in their faces, the announcement of the economic relief package is indeed an appropriate step and provides a ray of hope. In a bid to provide immediate and material assistance to workers in the unorganized sector, migrant workers, as well as the urban and rural poor who have been left without food and money in their hands, the FM detailed the modalities for transfer. As per the newly christened Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, an additional 5 kg of wheat or rice per household, and 1 kg of pulses available regionally will be given free for three months to 60% population. Majority of rural people are expected to benefit from these measures. The immediate benefit would be from the early release of first installment of Rs 2,000 directly under PM - KISAN. Moreover, the government has increased the wage rate of workers under MGNREGS, that is expected to take care of the needs of wage earners including agricultural labourer (who don’t get benefit under PM - KISAN).

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YOUNG INDIA CAN SAVE THE FUTURE OF  AGRICULTURE

Undoubtedly, India’s economic security continues to be predicated upon the agriculture sector, and the situation is not likely to change in the foreseeable future. Even now, agriculture supports 58% of the population, against about 75% at the time of independence. In the same period, the contribution of agriculture, and allied sectors, to the GDP has fallen from 61 to 19%. In spite of all these downfalls, around 51% of India’s geographical area is already under cultivation as compared to 11% of the world average. The present cropping intensity of 136% has registered an increase of 25% since independence. There is also an unprecedented degradation of land (107 million hectares) and groundwater resources, and also a fall in the rate of growth of total factor productivity. This deceleration needs to be arrested and agricultural productivity has to be doubled to meet growing demands of the population by 2050.The schemes which the central government introduced to improve the situation of rural India were promising initially, but the recent release of the socio- economic and caste census report shows a totally different story. That is why in the past several days, several farmers have committed suicide. Somewhere untimely rains and the lack of basic facilities can also be a cause of farmer suicides. The question arises: how long can poor farmers and villagers be denied rural infrastructure?

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FARMERS NOTEBOOK: TURNING JACKFRUIT INTO A SOURCE OF ANNUAL INCOME

Value addition always lends more value for any crop that is marketed. It can be the common rice or wheat, or even the most ignored millet like ragi,when it is converted into some sort of value-based product like ready-to-mix dough in powder form, it brings in better revenue than as mere produce. If this is the case for food grains, fruit crops value-based additions are more important since they offer possibilities of making new products from it. For a rural economy to turn prosperous, farmers have to concentrate on two areas. First, they have to take on the job of marketing and sell their produce instead of depending on some unknown face to sell it, and secondly, they should convert their raw produce into some value-added product to bring in more revenue.

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A Call to Collective Action! Agricultural Cooperatives for a Brighter Future

Path of profits and success require a cooperative walk. There’s no alternative but to invest in organizing and building institutions of small and marginal farmers if they have to be supported. About 60% of India’s population is dependent on agriculture. It is the sector that promises a lot of growth and at the same time sees a lot of distress. People of the country keep complaining about high retail prices wherein the farmers express their despair in farming due to negligible returns. Where does the farmer’s enhanced share go?

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