Two years after the Indian government began its ‘SriAg’ initiative to harness the technology to help farmers and farmers’ communities improve their livelihoods, the government has now made a big move to tap the expertise and talent of farmers in the country.
The government has launched a series of pilot projects in the north-east, where it plans to develop agricultural technologies and tools to help in the recovery of crops and soil fertility in areas like Chittorgarh, Guntur, Bhopal and Jharkhand.
The new initiative, called SivaPanchayat, is part of the Indian National Agricultural Policy (INAP) to support farmers, especially in rural areas, to strengthen their livelihood and to improve the quality of life for them.
“We want to give more and more people the opportunity to take up farming, and the people who will benefit are those farmers,” Nirmal Singh, the Chief Agriculture Officer, said.
“We want them to have a better standard of living in the village, not only in terms of the crop yield but also the quality and safety of their lives,” he added.
Under the pilot projects, farmers in three states, Punjab, Haryana and Assam, will be given access to equipment, software and tools, including seeds, soil testing equipment and soil fertilisers, through a fund to be established through the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
They will also be trained in the use of soil testing, and in irrigation and crop rotation.
The MoRD has also decided to make a Rs2 lakh grant to the farmers for training in irrigation.
The project is being run through the MoRDE.”
The MoRDA will also fund the cost of training and testing, along with the training materials,” Singh said.
The project is being run through the MoRDE.
The pilot projects are being conducted in six different districts of Punjab and Haryuklia, including Punjab’s Jhajjar and Sialkot districts.
The states also have three pilot projects under the MoRs (monopoly) scheme.
The MoRD is also funding a seed bank to assist farmers with seed procurement and other costs.
The Punjab government is also looking to help the farmers in their recovery by investing in crop rotations, crop insurance and other measures.
“Punjab is facing the worst drought in its history,” Singh added.
“It is a big challenge for us to manage it.
This is something that can be done for farmers.”
He said the farmers are now getting a better understanding of the technology and tools that are being developed to help them.
They are also getting access to new technologies, such as technology to monitor soil fertility, that will help them in making decisions on irrigation and planting.