Drone based Farming, Smart Irrigation Methods, Soil Testing based on 14 parameters and many more. Today we have everything available with us, but the question is still the same.. Are we ready for it?
So many times we read about technological innovations happening in farming industry. Innovations ranging from soil testing to smart harvesting & logistics methods and much more. Some of us are talking about smart irrigation methods while others are talking of climate control and drone assisted farming. We all are assured that these methods will bring desired results with a blend of perfection and optimum utilization of available resources.
Beyond all these innovations and methods lies a question which needs to be answered. The question which speaks of economic and environmental impact of innovative farming methods adopted/to be adopted. What we did during era of Green revolution has drastically changed pH value of our soil, making it dependent on artificial methods for functioning normally. Today one cannot expect their soil to behave normal with the use of manures and natural methods of farming. Simultaneously, all these innovative methods come at a cost..cost which adds to per unit price of a commodity, sometimes making it pricier than on-going prices in local mandis/APMCs. A simple example of potato can make it more lucid and easy to understand. In the month of October a particular type of potato in UP was selling at a price of INR 21/kg which reduced to INR 9/kg by the month of January. This price decrease of INR 12/kg can neither be controlled nor predicted by any of trade pundit. Within three months, prices of potato were reduced but input (Insecticides, Fungicides, Urea etc.) and storage costs remained the same, making farmers poorer by a margin directly proportional to the reduction in price of the commodity.
Can we imagine ourselves adopting these innovative methods without having a robust pricing mechanism in place? Mechanism ensuring a win-win preposition for all; mechanism where interests of marginal farmers were neither neglected nor addressed using false promises; Mechanism which will help these farmers in moving towards a better and future oriented approach..where farming won’t be a matter related to subsidies and grants but will be a full-fledged business motivating people (other than family farmers) to be a farmer.