Kisan Goshthi: Talking organic and green with farmers in intensive training sessions
VOICE successfully implemented Swedish Society for Nature Conservation’s (SSNC) Green Action project with support from Consumers International (CI) in the month of October 2015. The main objective of this project was to spread awareness among farmers in Delhi/NCR regarding best agriculture practices and to encourage them to adopt organic farming as an alternate to chemical-intensive farming. Farmers were also informed about the long-term benefits accruing from organic farming and about the high prices that the produce could fetch, along with market information.
At the ground level, what took place was a series of Kisan Goshthi (‘meet for farmers’) in these villages: Rajpur Khurd, Sabhapur Chauhan Patti and Baknner, Narela. With the help of informative pamphlets (given to each participant in environment-friendly, handmade cloth bags), colourful posters and attractive banners in Hindi for the target audience, the VOICE team of experts brought in all their efforts to ensure active participation by farmers in these meets. The training sessions were based on Training of Trainers (ToT) model to spread the message on a larger basis among farmers. Accordingly, a group of 40 to 45 farmers were trained in each ToT session so that they would in turn be equipped to conduct training in their villages. Members of panchayat and sarpanchs were part of the group.
As part of the project, the team conducted targeted research through a pre-formatted questionnaire in order to understand the mindset of the farmers and also interviewed them for better grasp of the subject matter. VOICE partnered with Department of Agriculture, Government of Delhi, and Directorate of Marketing and Inspection (DMI), Department of Agriculture, Government of India (GOI).
New crop-insurance scheme is due
The government has said that it will soon come out with a new crop-insurance scheme in which farmers will have to pay lower premium and anomalies in claim settlement will be removed.
Replying to a discussion in the Lok Sabha on the drought situation, agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh said nine states including Maharashtra, Telangana, Odisha, and Jharkhand had been affected but the government had put in place contingency plans that limited its impact. He also said the government would set up a committee to look into the revamp of minimum support price.
Singh also vowed to create a national market for agricultural produce by May 2017, and provide soil health card to every farmer by March 2017.