Kisan Goshthi: Talk­ing or­ganic and green with farm­ers in in­ten­sive train­ing ses­sions

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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.

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