Construct Agri ponds - Revive Agriculture - Redeem Farmer
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While everyone talks about the contribution of agriculture to GDP which is around 17.3 percentage to the total GDP of the country what needs to be remembered is more than half the population ie., around 65 crore or more population is dependent on agriculture. A large portion of the country is going through dry spell and sharing of river water is becoming a major concern which is expected to take its own time for resolution. Year on year urban clogging is only worsening with agriculture taking a hit due to bad monsoon. As a nation we are okay with waiving agricultural loans of Rs 36359 crore for one state while the same amount could save the agricultural lands for the entire nation if acted on it. It is high time that we foresee a problem and give our best to pre-empt it rather than allow the problem to surmount us. The ecological damage already has its effects on monsoon and therefore construction of ponds with LDPE/HDPE lining alone, for now, could prove to be a major solution to the impending problem. Such a pond in the size of 100ft X 100ft X 10 ft is expected to store water that is enough to irrigate upto 4 short term crops in a five acre area in a span of six months. A fresh lease of life could be given to the already existing ponds with scientific digging and lining. Yes there are various other engineering and proven solutions for managing between scant rainfall and higher agricultural productivity, the simple one being spoken today is shifting from rice to millets. But it would take a generation or more for this shift to happen. Therefore a pond construction would definitely prove to be an immediate solution. We do not require any new technology or innovation for resolving many of the basic problems in our country including agriculture. Intention to make the difference is what is required.
Construction of ponds is happening through few NGOs and very limited farming community in small pockets which may not be sufficient for the large impact that is necessary. Monsoon in India generally is from June to August and my current discussion is to ensure that the agricultural landscape of the country is ready to invite the showers of the forthcoming monsoon. The exercise should be taken up on a war footing basis before the start of this year monsoon. It is time for giving academicians a chance to take forward their ideas for implementation and for a better nation. A group of individuals with ability to influence government and other NGOs and with passion to make a difference to the farmer community of the country should be formed (well I am consciously using the word Group and not Committee because committees been have formed in the past to design policies and frameworks with no role in implementation) having no conflict of interest explicitly or implicitly. People like Ayyappa Masagi who have voluntarily worked towards turning almost 26000 hectares of dryland to wetland should be given an opportunity to make a difference to the whole of the country. The Group could arrive at the geographies, number and type of ponds required. Each pond is expected to cost between Rs 30000 to Rs 80000. Funds could be pooled from Government, NGOs and funds under Corporate Social Responsibility. Yes there are only few NGOs with the objective of making a difference to agriculture or the small farmer. Nevertheless a nationwide call to help farmers probably will convince them to allocate certain funds towards the subject purpose. As a onetime measure youth from rural background from the respective areas could be called for to assist in working on the ponds construction. I am sure with slowdown in infrastructure work lot of construction equipment could be lying idle which could come to the rescue to a certain extent. The challenging part could be to convince the small and marginal farmers on sparing a portion of their land for the greater good. NGOs and the local youth could play a major role in convincing the farmers. Technology is advanced beyond for communication from the point of construction to the decision makers.
If an FMCG company could take its product to the remotest corner of the country, constructing ponds should not be a challenge if intended to.
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