Focus on new farm technologies, Siddaramaiah tells scientists
He said that the University of Agricultural Sciences should work towards making farmers aware of how farming can be profitable and also aim at investing more in research projects.
BENGALURU: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the green revolution should be a continuous process. Constant innovation of technologies for farming, research on new crop varieties, increasing soil fertility and providing remunerative prices for farmers’ produce should be assured.
He was speaking after inaugurating the four-day Krishi Mela - 2023 on the campus of Gandhi Krishi Vigyana Kendra (GKVK) in the city.
He said the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) should not just produce graduates but also focus on promoting new technologies. It should work towards making farmers aware of how farming can be profitable and also aim at investing more in research projects.
“Our state has the largest dryland in the entire country, except Rajasthan. Most of our farmers depend on agriculture for their livelihood. If we want our farmers to continue agriculture, the sector has to be made profitable,” Siddaramaiah said.
Many farmers are selling their land now because of losses due to extreme weather conditions and high input costs. “Scientists should focus on new technologies to help farmers earn more profits,” the CM said. Siddaramaiah stressed the need for new drought-resistant crop varieties to help farmers in the wake of climate change. He assured the state government’s support for this.
“Even if the government gives subsidies and insurance, they will not help farmers overcome crop loss. The loss has been estimated at Rs 33,000 crore this year. As per the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) guidelines, the government has approached the Centre for a compensation of Rs 17,900 crore. Still, the state has to meet Rs 16,000-crore loss,” the chief minister said.
It is the responsibility of agricultural universities and the government to guide farmers, he added. Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said the government has appealed to the Centre to increase MGNREGA Mondays from 100 to 150, considering the drought in Karnataka.
He said 200 taluks are reeling under drought and an increase in man-days will help people of the affected areas. “There is a rule that MGNREGA man-days should be increased during drought. But nothing has been done yet. Those who claim to be farmers and sons of soil in the BJP must urge the Centre to increase the number of man-days,” he added.
“Farmers from Bengaluru Rural, Kanakapura, Chikkaballapura and Kolar are role models for the country as they have achieved success in growing vegetables, fruits and flowers. They are making use of scarce resources available to them and are earning good returns,” he said. Siddaramaiah, Shivakumar and Agriculture Minister N Chaluvarayaswamy honoured five ‘Best Farmers’ and one agricultural scientist for their achievements. Day one of the mela saw over 1,31,000 participants and a turnover of Rs 80 lakh from 625 stalls.
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR
Bengaluru Long-Eared Goats
One of the unique animals on display at Krishi Mela is the Bengaluru long-eared goat, which is priced between Rs 30,000 and Rs 3 lakh. The three goats on display are coloured white, brown and a mix of the two, and have 19-22 inch-long ears.
App for soil health
The University of Agricultural Sciences on Friday launched the Dhartimitra app for soil health cards and fertiliser recommendations that will keep farmers from overusing chemicals on their crops and help mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases. The app was launched for 10 districts namely Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Mysuru, Hassan, Chamarajanagar, Mandya, Ramanagara, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura and Kolar. The software will provide a soil health card, including fertiliser recommendations based on the SIC approach and through the soil fertility rating – Low-Medium-High (LMH) approach by fetching the geocoordinates of the location or survey number of a farmer’s plot of land.