State Coordination Committee Meeting for Doubling Farmers’ Income in West Bengal
The first State Coordination Committee (SCC) Meeting for doubling farmers’ income in West Bengal was held under the Chairmanship of Dr. D. D. Patra, Vice- Chancellor, Bidhan Cnandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya (BCKV), Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal at ICAR- Agricultural Technology Application Research Institute (ATARI), Kolkata, Salt Lake, Kolkata on 7th April 2017.
Dr. D. D. Patra, Vice- Chancellor, BCKV, Mohanpur, Nadia, West Bengal emphasized on strategies for doubling the farmers’ incomes by increasing the cropping intensity per unit area 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 suggested for 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. Taking on soil fertility, Dr. D. D. Patra warned the missing of crop response to soil fertility and nutrient management. He indicated the effect of climatic factors on crop production. He also suggested for 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’ income by March 2022 in West Bengal.
Dr. S K Roy, the Director, ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata and Convener of SCC meeting gave a 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.
Prof. Purnendu Biswas, Vice- Chancellor, West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences (WBUAFS), Belgachia, Kolkata, 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 in agriculture where 10% of the fund should be earmarked for food processing sector. There should be infrastructures for the establishment of primary food processing centre 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 agricultural produces. Shri. Sharma indicated various schemes like RKVY scheme, Min. of Food Processing Industries, GOI etc. for food processing purposes.
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 8.53 L.ha. Normal area under Pulses 2.19 L.ha and additional Pulses area covered under Rice fallow only 0. 96 L.Ha during 2016-17. However, for promotion of Rice fallow Pulses the Districts of viz., 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 equipments 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 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.
Vice-Chancellor of State Agricultural Universities, Directors of ICAR Institutes and Senior Officials of State Government Departments, Scientists of ICAR- ATARI, Kolkata attended the meeting.
(Source: ICAR-ATARI, Kolkata)