Press Information Bureau
Government of India
President's Secretariat
15-December-2011 09:54 IST
Committee of Governors on Farmer-Industry Partnership meets at Rashtrapati Bhavan
The Committee of Governors on Farmer-Industry Partnership met at Rashtrapati Bhavan today. In her address to the Committee, the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil highlighted issues for action and discussion.

In her address the President said, “Agriculture occupies a fundamentally important position in our economy. For a growing nation like India, our work requires a constant review and a constant renewal of commitments. For agriculture, it is time for another great leap forward. This will be possible with a clear recognition of the many existing inter-linkages and a clear roadmap. I am happy that this meeting of the Committee of Governors, will examine and recommend measures to enhance productivity, profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of the agriculture sector in India, with special reference to rainfed area farming.”

The President said, “About 60 percent of the cultivated area in India is rainfed. It provides 44 percent of food production in the country, that includes 85 to 95 percent of coarse cereals, 89 percent pulses, 80 percent oil seeds 65 percent cotton and 45 percent rice. It supports about 40 percent of the population, mostly belonging to the poorer sections of society. It also supports nearly 60 percent of the livestock population. Therefore, urgent attention to dryland farming is important.”

The President observed that, “Our approach will have to change from one where the farmer is viewed as a “tiller”, to one where we look at the farmer as an agri-preneur who is eager to look at new forms of engagement with other stakeholders, to enhance productivity and profitability from agriculture. Much like the industrial entrepreneur, the farmer takes risks, sows seeds and puts in tremendous effort in manning it. The farmer today requires inputs of knowledge and scientific research, access to markets, credit support and insurance coverage and management techniques for effective utilization of various resources. These are very much the inputs for running a successful business operation! So linking industry and the farmer is very much a viable option.”

Outlining her views on the farmer-industry partnership, the President said, “I have been calling for the development of some basic "models" to bring farmers into partnership arrangements with SME’s and the corporate world. The farmer - industry partnership can include crop specific and region specific models by making farmers associations, shareholders or co-operatives or organizing farmers into primary producer bodies, or any other desirable and viable model between farmers and industries. Also, these agreements should, on one hand, safeguard the ownership of land of the farmer and, on the other hand, ensure tenure security during the agreement period for the industrial establishment. This would create a conducive environment for the establishment of a viable industry - farmer partnership.”

Emphasizing on the importance of knowledge and knowledge management, the President said, “Knowledge and knowledge management have to be leveraged effectively for the benefit of the farming community. Results from agricultural research are sometimes too academic to guide intermediary organizations and extension agencies. If that is the case, farmers do not gain anything, as knowledge is not being transferred to them in an understandable and doable form. Therefore, there is a need to start programmes that create or reinforce partnerships between intermediary organizations and research institutes, to produce accessible content in local languages and, at the appropriate technical level.”

The President said, “Government schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act have had a major impact in rural India. It has opened up many opportunities for work and employment which is very important. Its further utilization for agriculture needs to be looked at, in a deeper way, to see how to maximize the potential of this scheme, for rural development and agricultural operations, in the context of the emerging scenario of farm labour shortages and food security.”

Concluding her address, the President said she was confident that the Committee would provide valuable guidance and inputs for agricultural development in the country.

Earlier, the Governor of Punjab and Rajasthan, Shri Shivraj Patil introduced the issues chosen for deliberations at the meeting such as ways and means for enhancing productivity, profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of the agriculture sector in India with special reference to rainfed area farming. The meeting was also attended by the Governors of Maharashtra & Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Nagaland, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram and the Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands and senior officials from connected Departments of the Government of India as well as agricultural organizations and also representatives from business chambers, etc.