Karnataka: Budget proposes Farmers Income Commision

Karnataka Government proposes to establish Farmers Income Commission in the new budget

The Karnataka Agriculture Budget for 2013-14 is at http://www.kar.nic.in/finance/bud2013/bud2013.htm (go to Part I Agriculture). Some of the schemes and strategies announced, that caught my attention, are pasted below:

14. Creation of basic database of farmers and distribution of pass books: Database containing comprehensive information (land holding, category, address, facilities availed etc) of farmers has to be created with the integration of ‘Bhoomi’ project with the existing “Aadhar” database in the State. This information   will be useful to enable greater attention hereafter for categories and areas which have got less importance till now and for formulating agriculture related policies.   A pass book containing all this information will be provided to the farmers.  A sum of Rs 15 crore will be spent to implement this programme by fully computerizing and web-enabling in
co-ordination with the E-governance department on a pilot basis in the districts of Mysore, Tumkur, Dharwad, where Aadhar project is completed. This programme will be extended to the other districts in a phased manner.

17. New MoU for improvement of life of farmers: With a view to improve the economic condition of the farmers along with agricultural wealth, Farmers Income Commission will be set up as per the recommendations of Dr. Swaminathan. In order to formulate a programme to protect the farmers of Karnataka from the effect of frequent droughts, the State Government has entered into a MoU with 9 international C.G.I.A.R1 organisations. Basic status survey and activities as per the action plan are under progress in one district each in the four revenue divisions (Tumkur, Chikkamagaluru, Bijapur and Raichur) for implementation of the said programme. Rs.50 crore will be provided as funding to extend this programme to all the districts in the coming years in a phased manner.

19. Suvarna Bhoomi Scheme: Based on the demand from the farmers, the scheme will be continued during this year and will be   extended to the farmers growing millets such as Ragi, Jowar, Maize and Bajra.  Rs.300 Crores will be provided for assisting 3 lakh beneficiaries under this scheme during the current year.


21. Preparation, certification and distribution of organic manure : High priority has been given to organic farming in the State during the last 4 years and my Government is implementing Amruth Bhoomi scheme by constituting Organic Farming Mission.  Organic village programme will be extended and will be implemented in 240 acres in each Hobli under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojane. In view of increasing demand for organic manure, it is proposed to handover its manufacturing, certification and internal control by
APEDA identified agencies and marketing to non- Governmental organisations which are experts in this field and  to encourage them, a sum of Rs 100 crores is proposed.

22. Own Seed Development Scheme: As there is high demand by the farmers for good quality  seeds, it is necessary to encourage  production of certified seeds. For this purpose own seed development scheme will be implemented by seed production centres of
agriculture department in collaboration with various seed production corporations/boards/private farms of the State.  To encourage seed production in selected villages at Hobli level,  infrastructure facilities like fee concession for seed certification, construction of seed storage godowns, construction of threshing yards and equipments required for processing will be provided. Rs. 55 crores will be provided for this purpose.

25. Solar power pump sets : There are 18 lakh irrigation pump sets in the State and their electricity consumption is increasing. Karnataka Solar Energy Scheme will be formulated to make up for the shortage of electricity, to adopt modern technology and to install solar power based pump sets, where ever possible. Initially this scheme will be implemented in 4 districts (one each in every revenue division).  On the basis of its evaluation after implementation, Rs.50 crores will be provided in the first phase for extension to the other districts.

33. Development of vegetable gardens in schools to overcome malnutrition: To compensate for deficiency of vitamin A and B in the children of North Karnataka (especially in Gulbarga, Raichur, Koppal, Bidar, Bellary, Bijapur and Bagalkot districts) who are
suffering from malnutrition, it is proposed to grow fruits and vegetables in kitchen gardens, school gardens, community parks and such other places and supply to children.  About 50 lakh children will be benefitted at a cost of Rs.2.5 crore during the year 2013-14.

73. In order to provide necessary warehouse facilities and to enable farmers to get warehouse based loans, necessary infrastructure facilities will be provided in a scientific manner in 19 places of the State (Hubli, Bijapur, Raichur, Bidar, Gadag, Bagalkot, Sankeshwara, Ranebennur, Harihara, Davanagere, Challakere, Chitradurga, Bharamasagara, Gundlupet, Soraba, Chamarajanagar, Santemaranahalli, Mysore and Kollegala).

(2012-13 report)

• A web portal has been started in 2012-13 for online disposal of farmers’ subsidy applications and to avoid delay in the payment of subsidy. So far 11,820 applications have been received through the web portal.

Impact of policies favouring organic inputs on small farms in Karnataka, India: a multicriteria approach

Interesting published paper from ATREE which uses a multi-criteria analysis to compare villages supported under an organic farming project/policy in Karnataka with those that are not, in terms of a variety of parameters on the economic, environmental and socio-cultural fronts. I am not too sure where I picked up the paper from, and might be circulating it back to a group from where I picked it up and my apologies for the same.

Purushothaman et al 2012 mca ktaka(1)

Seema Purushothaman • Sheetal Patil • Ierene Francis
Received: 3 October 2011 / Accepted: 12 February 2012

Ó Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012
Environ Dev Sustain
DOI 10.1007/s10668-012-9340-1

The paper presents the results of a multicriteria analysis conducted to comprehend
the effects of two different practice–policy scenarios on smallholders in Karnataka—one
scenario ‘with policy’ (WP) to support organic agricultural practices and the other a
‘business as usual’ (BAU) scenario that continues to stress on market-based, synthetic
inputs for cultivation. The paper integrates results from quantitative and participatory
techniques to compare and project effects on ecological, economic and socio-cultural
indicators. Ecological and economic indicators in WP are projected to be significantly
higher than BAU in a majority of the study sites, while socio-cultural indicators show
mixed outcomes, depending on regional and social characteristics. Across the study sites,
small and rain-fed farms are benefitted better in WP compared to large and irrigated farms,
respectively. Among small and rain-fed farms, soil fertility, water quality, agro-diversity,
net income and freedom from indebtedness improve considerably, while there is slight
reduction in collective activities and no perceivable change in land-based subsistence. 

Paddy Museum: Preserving his inheritance

Ghani Khan
Organic farmer Ghani Khan’s project, a paddy museum, will soon be ready

Fired by zeal for conservation of genetic diversity in crops, an organic farmer from the Mysore region has embarked on a project to establish what is reckoned to be India’s first paddy museum.

Ghani Khan of Kirugavulu in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district cultivates and conserves more than 300 varieties of paddy and rice, most of which do not make it to the market and may be lost to posterity.

However, Mr. Khan, who has inherited his forefathers’ farmland donated by Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan more than 200 years ago, has converted his 20-acre-plot to a genetic hotspot with a variety of crops, dominated by paddy and mango. His paddy project has led him to convert a portion of his house into a museum, which will be ready in a few months’ time.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Khan said paddy varieties conserved by him include Jeerge Sanna, Gandasale, Bilinellu, Raskadam, Rajmudi and Pakistan Basmati, to name a few, and he has dedicated nearly 3 acres of land for their cultivation and demonstration.

PART OF HIS HOUSE

“The first floor of my house will be converted to a paddy museum, where samples of nearly 300 varieties of paddy acquired from different places, cultivated and preserved by me, will be on display,” said Mr. Khan, who continues to acquire rare varieties of paddy and augment his collection.

He said he had invested half his income in developing the paddy museum, and a senior farmer would be invited to inaugurate it, he added. While the paddy museum was expected to draw like-minded conservationists to his farm, Mr. Khan also gets regular visitors for the rare mangoes he cultivates. At the last count, there were 120 varieties of mango in his farm including Mangmari, Jeerge Maavu, Shakkargubbi and Mosambi ka aam, none of which are commonly available.

‘UTMOST CARE’

“I have preserved these varieties of mango as an inheritance from my forefathers and maintain the orchards with utmost care, though I do not get any support from the Government for this,” he said.

Notwithstanding his efforts and drive to protect crop diversity, the going is tough for Mr. Khan owing to loss of income, as 3 acres of land is earmarked for paddy demonstration. “It is easy to introduce Alphonso and Badami in my orchard, which will increase my earnings. But if I cease to cultivate or fail to conserve these varieties, they will be lost to posterity,” Mr. Khan remarked.

NO ASSISTANCE

Apart from a token award and a title of Krishi Pandit, which is routinely conferred on farmers every year, there is little by way of Government assistance for Mr. Khan, who was promised that his orchard and farmland would be declared a biodiversity hotspot.

Though he is under tremendous pressure from his well-wishers and a few of his family members to switch to conventional agriculture, the conservationist in him refuses to compromise.

However, Mr. Khan has support from the Bangalore-based Sahaja Samruddha, an organic farmers’ association that provides him market linkage.

Not content with cultivating and conserving, Mr. Khan has tied up with the local government school, whose students visit the farm to learn about organic and natural farming “This is important, as the new generation of children even in villages are fast losing touch with the natural world and believe in chemical farming,” said Mr. Khan.

Central team visits Karnataka to assess drought impact

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda at the Legislative Assembly on Dec. 13, 2011. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
The Hindu Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda at the Legislative Assembly on Dec. 13, 2011. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

A central team arrived on Wednesday to assess the impact of drought in parts of Karnataka, where the Government has declared 99 taluks as drought-hit.

Replying to a debate on the drought situation in the Legislative Assembly, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said once the team files the report with the Centre after the two-day visit, the State would take out an all-party delegation to the Union Government to press for grant of funds towards drought-relief works.

He announced sanctioning of Rs 36 crore for drilling borewells in drought-hit areas.

Mr. Gowda said as on October end, the crop loss was to the tune of Rs 4,544.84 crore, adding, as per the Central norms, a memorandum has been submitted to the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar seeking additional relief funds of Rs 723.24 crore.

The Chief Minister listed various steps taken by the Government from early October towards drought-relief works.

“Funds are available with Deputy Commissioners in districts to take up relief works. There is no shortage of fodder anywhere in the State,” Mr. Gowda said, rejecting the Opposition Congress and JDS charge that the Government lacked seriousness in tackling the scarcity situation.

Mr. Gowda said 956 farmers have killed themselves in the State since 2008 but added such suicides have come down “significantly” in recent months. He gave farmers’ suicide figures of the neighbouring Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh to suggest that such numbers were lower in Karnataka.

Countering Mr. Gowda’s claim, leader of the opposition Siddaramaiah (Congress), citing a magazine report that quoted figures of the national and state crime records bureau, said 6,000 farmers had committed suicide in the state in the past three years.

Farmers’ suicides are counted only if they have land-holding, have taken loans from cooperation sector or commercial banks and it is proved they ended their lives because of the loans they have taken, he said, asserting many deaths don’t fall in this category.

“If you have funds, why have you not paid money to farmers who suffered crop loss,” Mr. Siddaramaiah asked.

He demanded that the government fund the crop insurance premiums of small and marginal farmers as well as those belonging to SCs and STs.

The Congress staged a walk-out from the House, with Mr. Siddaramaiah saying the opposition members were unhappy with the Chief Minister’s reply and the government lacked seriousness in dealing with the drought situation.

956 farmers committed suicide in past three years, says Karnataka Govt

PTI

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Farmer Bore Gowda participating with IT professionals at a Candle Light Vigil to protest against farmers sucide in the State at Town Hall in Bangalore. A file photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
The HinduFarmer Bore Gowda participating with IT professionals at a Candle Light Vigil to protest against farmers sucide in the State at Town Hall in Bangalore. A file photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

As many as 956 farmers committed suicide in Karnataka in the past 44 months, the Government informed the Legislative Council on Tuesday.

“It has been reported that during the last three years (2008—09, 2009—10, 2010—11 and 2011—12 (up to 30.11.2011) 956 farmers have committed suicide”, Agriculture Minister Umesh V Katti told Veeranna Mathikatti (Congress) in reply to an unstarred question.

He said the Government has implemented several initiatives to ensure that farmers got proper prices for their produce and regular income.

These include minimum support price, as declared by Government of India and additional support by the State government, availability of credit at one per cent interest and subsidies for inputs like fertilisers, seeds, pesticides, implements and micro irrigation.

In addition, the Government has taken up new initiatives like “Bhoochetana” and “Suvarna Bhoomi Yojane” programmes, Mr. Katti added.

Besides, the Government is implementing the MNREGA scheme during the off-seasons for employment purpose, the Minister said, adding regular monitoring and testing of fertilisers and seeds is done so that they are available to farmers at MRP and of good quality.