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Indian farming sector needs small projects, not big ones

Feb 10, 2014

“India needs small projects in large numbers and not large project in small numbers,” said Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj.

New Delhi: Local solutions need to be developed for the immediate challenges confronting the traditional agricultural practices in the developing world,particularly Asia which is gearing up to fight against the twin challenges of food security and an acute shortage of water and energy.

Experts representing the global institutions and practising farmer community of India speaking during the session on ‘Dealing with the energy, water and food security challenge in Asia’ at the 14th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit drew attention towards the need of implementing small projects on a big scale.

Lise Grande, UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative, United Nations Development Programme, said that there was no bigger issue than that of achieving food security. She added that food production depends on plentiful water and energy.

Grande said that many Asian countries were already facing high level of food insecurity. By the year 2030, about 40% of Asia will face severe water shortage.“About 60% of water in Asia is used for agricultural purposes.In India, 60% of water blocks are facing acute water crisis and 90% of fresh drawn water is used for agriculture,” shesaid.

Talking about future power shortages, she said that farmers will have to face erratic power supply. “When energy will be diverted for other purposes it would obviously result in less availability for agriculture,” she said.

Talking about MDGs,Lise saideven 15 years back, the world leaders realised that food insecurity was the biggest threat and hence, accorded it highest priority.

Ajay Vir Jakhar, Chairman, Bharat Krishak Samaj (Farmers’ Forum, India) said that it was not practical to feed the farmers by aide or trade. Talking about the importance of backyard farming, Jakhar said that Indian farmers need handholding.

Jakhar said that the socio-economic conditions of farmers do not allow them to be adventurous. “We need small projects in large numbers and not large project in small numbers,” he said.

Dr Leena Shrivastava, Vice Chancellor, TERI University, said the big challenge is that the interface between water, energy and food are nobody’s business which makes it extremely difficult to address this nexus. “We cannot address this nexus unless a framework is evolved at the grassroots level,” she suggested.

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