I have been reading the wonderful blogposts my colleagues have been writing. These blogposts bring interesting viewpoints to the discussion, and through this article, I wanted to add a few of my thoughts to this chain of discussion.
I may be beginning with an obvious fact- which is that over 60% of Indian population continues to depend on agriculture as its primary source of income, but it is necessary to set the context. Agriculture has not just been their source of income, but has influenced their socio-economic status, and is the only means of ensuring that they continue to grow in life.
Farmers will progress and live a better standard of living, only when farming advances, and brings them better returns on investment. For this, the only way is research and development of advance practices, inputs such as seeds and machines ensures bumper crops. History is witness that every sector where technology has stepped in, has benefitted. From education (where technology and research helped create smart classes so that education did not restrict itself to the elite) to health (where new healthcare systems everyday are saving millions of lives), investment in research has benefitted everyone who is even remotely associated with that sector or cause.
Then why do we hesitate to jump into the pool and get our hands dirty when it comes to agriculture? Why do we continue to rely on the age old methods that are time consuming, resource intensive and waste efforts?
We are lucky that Government?s initiatives are being supported by the private companies who are willingly investing in research and development of inputs that are suitable and specific to Indian markets and resources. This has over the years, proven beneficial to the farmers. Any return on investment has been reinvested into more research in the country. It has not only resulted in some path breaking inventions in the country but also continues to provide employment opportunities to many scientists and aspiring students.
Hence, we must, together as advocates of science, keep the interest of farmers as our priority, and take a pledge to support innovative practices in the agriculture sector.