Proceedings of the Coordination Committee Meeting for Doubling the Farmers Income in West Bengal by March 2022
The Coordination Committee Meeting for Doubling the Farmers Income by March 2022 was held under the Chairmanship of Dr. D. D. Patra, the Vice- Chancellor, BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal on 7th April 2017 at ICAR- Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Kolkata, Salt Lake, Kolkata. At the outset, Dr. F.H. Rahman, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata welcomed all the Hon’ble members of the Coordination Committee, the representatives of different organisations, and the Scientists of ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata. After self- introduction by all the members and the participants, Dr. S K Roy, Director, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata presented in brief about the purpose of the meeting. He explained that the committee would study the existing productivity and income levels in West Bengal to develop strategy needed to double the income of farmers by March 2022. Dr. Roy stressed upon institutional mechanism for making the whole programme achievable. He highlighted on developing the area specific technology modules along with all possible combinations for doubling income depending on various agro-ecological as well as different socio-economic conditions of the farming community. He underlined the needs of the approaches towards doubling the farmers’ incomes on diversification of crops, high-value commodities, integrated farming system (IFS), use of solar system in agriculture etc.
The Vice- Chancellor, BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal and the Chairman of the Coordination Committee, Dr. D. D. Patra addressed on strategies for doubling the farmers’ income by increasing the cropping intensity per unit area and per unit of inputs like fertilizers, irrigation and other natural resources with the right combination of crops including animal husbandry and fisheries, the promotion of high value crops like pulses, oilseeds, spices like turmeric, ginger etc. He directed to give emphasis on the development of orchard with mango, litchi, cardamom etc in western part of West Bengal i.e. Bankura, Purulia, part of Burdwan, part of Birbhum where irrigation facility is almost nil. Talking on soil fertility, the Vice- Chancellor of BCKV warned the missing of crop response to soil fertility and nutrient management. Dr. Patra indicated the effect of climatic factors on crop production. He talked on the restructuring of the marketing system of the agricultural commodities to provide minimum support price to the farmers. He emphasized on the development of agro-ecological zone specific, crop specific and the farmer centric technological modules in view of doubling the farmers’ incomes by March 2022 in West Bengal.
The Hon’ble Vice- Chancellor, WBUAFS, Belgachia, Kolkata, Prof. Purnendu Biswas delivered a talk through a presentation on ‘Livelihood security of rural people through livestock and fishery farming: Strategies for doubling the farmers’ incomes’. At the outset, he sensitized by indicating the huge deficit of milk (12.68 million ton), meat (0.37 million ton), fish (0.13 million ton) and eggs (4620 million) in West Bengal. Prof. Purnendu Biswas discussed on the potential of livestock farming and fisheries in West Bengal in the light of doubling the farmers’ incomes by March 2022. He emphasized on breed improvement through the production of superior quality bulls, production of superior quality semen along with the conservation of high valued animal genetic resources. He suggested to feed good quality feed ingredients like maize, soybean oilcakes to the animals for exploiting the potential of the breed. He shared his experience by mentioning that the production of milk and meat could be increased upto 15-20% by following immunization programme in time, controlling parasitic attack through deworming and supplementing the minerals’ mixture. Pig farming could be the best option for the tribal farmers to augment income for livelihood. In view of increasing the demand of high valued ready to eat food items, Prof. Biswas mentioned to produce more and more processed dairy products like paneer, cheese, yogurt etc. He further suggested to adopt sustainable integrated cum-diversified climate resilient scientific livestock and fish farming practices for enhancing income of the farmers. He said that the production of organic manures and compost from the livestock waste could be an additional source of income.
The Director, Min. of Food Processing Industries, GOI, New Delhi, Shri. Vineet Sharma observed that food processing should be an integral part of any programme which is to be implemented for this purpose. Minimum 10% of the funds for any such scheme should be earmarked for food processing sector. There should be farm level infrastructure for the establishment of primary food processing center in the state.Value addition to the farm produces could be the boon for the additional income of the farmers. He added that State Govt. should have their own food processing policies according to the availability of local agricultural produces. State Govt. should bring their own schemes for development of Food Processing Industry. Shri. Sharma mentioned about various schemes like RKVY scheme of GOI which could be used by State Govt. for development of food processing activities. DARE is to identify/ develop processable varieties of Fruits/ Vegetables and other crops which would help in enhancing value addition of the farmers and would increase efficiency and profitability.
The Director, Directorate of Jute Dev., Min. of Agri. & FW, GOI, New Delhi, Dr. K. Manoharan told that there is a scope for increasing the rice fallow area for pulse production in West Bengal. As per the estimates of the Department of Agriculture, Government of West Bengal, the total available area under Rice fallow is 8.53 L.ha. Normal area under Pulses is 2.19 L.ha and additional Pulses area covered under Rice fallow only 0. 96 L.ha during 2016-17. However, for promotion of Pulses in Rice fallow, the Districts like Birbhum, Paschim Medinipur, Bankura and Purulia can be explored in West Bengal. The Governrnent of India may extend the support to the State Government with further supplementing interventions i.e., Cluster demonstration, Supply of Certified seeds of varieties/Hybrids not older than 15 years, other inputs viz., Micronutrients, Gypsum, Lime, Bio fertilizers, PP chemicals including bio-agents, Irrigation, equipment viz., Sprinklers, Pipes, Pumpsets and Farm Machinery etc., He suggested to use improved seed variety for crop production. He also emphasized on marketing of agriculture produces as well as value added products.
The Director, CRIJAF, Barrackpore, West Bengal, Dr. Jiban Mitra suggested to reduce the cost of inputs and promote small farm implements in view of reducing the labour cost. He advocated adopting district-wise technology policy for minimizing the yield variation and thus increasing the overall jute productivity in the state. He highlighted on value addition of jute, recycling of jute waste e.g. use of jute stick for charcoal.
The Joint Director of Agriculture, Govt. of West Bengal explained the initiative of his directorate to grow pulses in huge rice fallow area of about 8 lakh ha. He warned about the arsenic problem and thus suggested to reduce boro rice cultivation as well as develop some rice varieties resistant to arsenic. He stressed upon the introduction of micro irrigation system and the arrangement of custom hiring centre for 365 days. He emphasized on skill development programme.
The Nominee of the Vice- Chancellor, UBKV, Cooch Behar, West Bengal, and PC, KVK, Cooch Behar, Dr. Bikash Roy, gave an overview on agricultural scenario in North Bengal covering 8 districts with a note of high potential to increase cropping intensity to 250%. There is a severe lack of cold storage facility in North Bengal. The farmers are in stress to get right price from the agriculture produces. He advocated ensuring mminimum support price (MSP) to the farmers. Dr. Roy informed that nearly 68341 ha fallow land might be a good resource to initiate desired crop diversification programme. He suggested making strategies for preventing post-harvest losses, establishment of facilities for value addition and food processing, creation of micro irrigation system, ICT-led marketing system etc. Dr. Roy depicted the huge scope of dairy, goat, pig, poultry farming, bee keeping, sericulture, fisheries as alternative livelihood options.
The Director’s representative, CIFRI, Barrackpore, West Bengal, Dr. U.K. Sarkar informed that the present production from natural flood plain wetlands in West Bengal is 54600 tons which can be further increased 1.5times to a total of 84600 tons by enhancing its current productivity from 1280kg/ha/year to 2000kg/ha/year through scientific culture based fisheries. He suggested that demonstration of management norms in a participatory mode in selected wetlands would encourage CBF adoption. In situ production of fingerlings by pen culture and releasing the same in the beels for table fish production would ensure sustainable ecosystem management. Adoption of stock enhancement and culture based fisheries guidelines developed by ICAR-CIFRI could increase the current fish production of 1600 tons to 40,000 tons by stocking large, medium and small reservoirs by 300, 500 and 1000 fingerlings/ha/year respectively. Replication of Bangladesh model on Hilsa conservation by stopping fishing of jatkas and brooders and Hilsa Conservation and Research Centre could be setup for Hilsa fishery rejuvenation and conservation. He further suggested for the promotion of canal fisheries in collaboration with irrigation department and diversification of fish species and the utilization of aquatic resources for Integrated fish farming.
The Director, DREF, WBUAFS, Belgachia, Kolkata, West Bengal, Dr. A. Goswami emphasized on (i) the preparation of livestock resources map, (ii) the promotion of livestock producer company, (iii) the strengthening of the marketing system. He further suggested selecting the beneficiaries properly for the dissemination of different technologies.
The Joint Director, Dir. of Jute Dev., Min. of Agri. & FW, GOI, W.B., Shri. J. Das favoured the varietal replacement approach for augmenting the crop production.
Dr. S. K Mondal, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata advocated to make an easy access of institutional mechanisms for getting financial benefits for agriculture, livestock and fish farming.
Dr. A. Haldar, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata expressed his view on the determination of cost involvement for each technological module as well as benefit from each technological module and thus make a complete economics for the whole programme to fulfil the target towards doubling the farmers’ incomes by March 2022 in West Bengal.
Dr. P.P. Pal, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata observed that since agricultural research is prerogative of state Govt, proactive role should be taken by the state Govt to ensure technological development and availability for the benefit of the farmers.
The meeting was concluded with the remarks made by the hon’ble Vice- Chancellor, BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal and the Chairman of the Coordination Committee, Dr. D. D. Patra.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. P.P. Pal, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata.
- There is a basic need of quality certified seeds and good animal breeds which should be addressed on priority.
- Agricultural marketing to be given adequate importance.
- High value crops are to be promoted.
- Integrated Farming System (IFS) approach needs to be encouraged.
- Application of technologies is required for natural resource management.
- Rice fallow area is to be utilized fully.
- Technologies towards the use of solar energy need to be used.
- The facilities/ infrastructures are to be established for food processing/ value addition/ preparation of by-products.
- The cost of cultivation needs to be reduced for augmenting the farm income.
- Minimum price support price must be ensured to avoid distress sale.
- New and innovative technologies for crop cultivation, animal husbandry practices and fish production are to be identified for the transfer to the farmer’s field.
- Soil fertility, nutrient management and crop response are to be integrated.
- There is need to develop agro-ecological zone specific, crop specific and the farmer centric technological modules.
- The financial involvement for technological interventions needs to be determined.
- PPP mode needs to be followed.
The following members attended the meeting:
- The Vice- Chancellor, BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal – Chairman
- The Director, ICAR- ATARI, Zone-II, Salt Lake, Kolkata, West Bengal – Convener
- The Vice- Chancellor, WBUAFS, Belgachia, Kolkata, West Bengal – Member
- The Director, Min. of Food Processing Industries, GOI, New Delhi – Member
- The Director, Directorate of Jute Dev., Min. of Agri. & FW, GOI, New Delhi – Member
- The Director, CRIJAF, Barrackpore, West Bengal – Member
- The Joint Director of Agriculture, Govt. of West Bengal – Member
- The Nominee of the Vice- Chancellor, UBKV, Cooch Behar, West Bengal – Member
- The Director’s representative, CIFRI, Barrackpore, West Bengal – Member
- The Director, DREF, WBUAFS, Belgachia, Kolkata, West Bengal
- The Joint Director, Dir. of Jute Dev., Min. of Agri. & FW, GOI, W.B.
- P.P. Pal, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata
- Avijit Haldar, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata
- S. K Mondal, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata
- F.H. Rahman, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata
- Kalyan Sundar Das, Principal Scientist, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata
- Jyotirmay Karforma, Associate Professor, UBKV, Cooch Behar, West Bengal