Friday, February 19, 2010

Investing in Agriculture-1

Investing in Agriculture: -
Agriculture was the backbone of India, I am very sorry for using “was” here. My intention behind writing this article is not to degrade the Agriculture, but to question my young friends to realize the real problem or cause for this set back, because the contribution of Agriculture to the GDP of the Nation is drastically coming down. The reason is not lack of support from the Government, but government programs and benefits are not reaching the farmers. India would have achieved the very old and proud dream of becoming a developed nation long back, if it would have taken proper scientific measures in the right time to improve the quality of farming in India.
Unfortunately, we are importing sugar, cotton, areca nuts, vanilla, wheat and many more food grains and agricultural produces which can be produced to the fullest to cater the complete requirement of the nation in India only, but our unscientific farming methods are forcing us to look at imported items to save our money as an individual/firm/company, not as a nation.
Indian Government being the member of WTO is not allowed to stop importing, but the awareness which we can create in each of us will definitely reduce the value of importing gradually. One importer or a trader will think of importing foreign goods and products only in two situations, i.e.
1) The internal production is not sufficient to meet the requirements of the people and the raw material scarcity is not permitting industries to produce,
2) The quality of the goods produced inside the nation is not meeting the expectations of the people both in terms of price and quality.
In case of first scenario, Importing is necessary. But in the second scenario, Importing will be done just to benefit a company or a person. In that case, the kind of loss which is going to be created will not affect only people or companies doing the same line of business or production, but also the creditability of the economy of a nation. As a youth and the responsible citizen of the nation, My humble suggestion, advice and request to all educated and young friends is to give at least 50% concentration towards the development of Agriculture and farming in India by getting involved in the process of educating the farmers to make use of the technology and the modern machineries and equipments to improve the end result.
We have business people, Industrialists, Investors who are ready to invest thousands of crores to set up Restaurants, Liquor Research Labs, Horse Racing Clubs, Cricket Teams, Movie production houses and many more which can just bring luxury to a person but not the Life.
One can’t live without food and the only source for food is Agriculture and Farming. My humbleness is to see Business people and Industrialists coming forward to set up Agriculture Developmental Parks, Research and Training Parks, and many more of this kind.
Our Governments has to change the model in which the representatives and officers work in the Government departments. Even office boy in a Private company will be having certain targets, but
- How many of our ministers and government officials have targets?
- How many people are really working for the prosperity of the nation?
- Our Governments always think of increasing the revenue of the Government and the people over there, but they never show interest in increasing the income of people of the Nation. As long as this continues, the dream of becoming a developed nation will remain as a dream.
I am very happy to write the second part of “Investing in Agriculture” as my friends from different walks of life have responded so well with their supportive and motivational words for “Investing in Agriculture -1”. Being in IT, BT kind of MNC companies, people are still thinking of exploring the hidden opportunities available in Agricultural sector and that made me to think something beyond just an article. I got a comment from one of our readers that Farmers are the only creators in the world; others are just processing and exchanging what they create. This shows us the importance of Agriculture and Farmers across the world. Almost all our industries in India are depending on agriculture in one or the way for their different needs and
Now the Question is:
Why are we not showing interest in Agriculture?
We know that agriculture and its produce are most important for the world, but still we are not able to create value for the same. Every parent want their kids to become a doctor, engineer, scientist, business person and any other white color job, but no one wants their kids to become a Farmer. Therefore, I will be discussing about various value creation strategies in the next few articles which can be implemented in different parts of the country at different levels starting from today and one such strategy is there right below.
Strategy 1: Weekends at Farm Lands:
Dear Friends, how nice it would be if we go to villages in the weekends with our friends with some new ideas which can boost the farmers to deliver better results. I am sure that out of every 10 people who are working in the cities at least 2 will be from villages, so let us identify one or two villages which are near to our place as a first step.
We have to understand the potential of the Agricultural land available over there, so that we can identify the best crops which suit to that particular soil and the climate. Then, we have to develop a strategy to implement our plan with the support of farmers.
Now, we need to have a close relationship with the media to publish our weekly article, which carries the recommendations to the government to deliver the expectations of the farmers in the right time. Media can help us to make this a revolution.
We have two different ways of implementing this strategy:
1. We can take up this as a social work or consulting job and we can charge a very nominal amount of fee to the farmers for the amount of time we spend on them and their land, after the harvesting or after getting those better results then the usual.
2. We can partner with farmers by providing technology, training, finance and consultation, with mutual understanding and acceptance to share the profit earned in the acceptable ratio.
I would like to add many more things to this strategy, but before that I need your feedback on this concept. Dear friends, kindly come back to me with all possible plans which can be merged to this strategy to make it a grand success.
Agriculture has the potential to re-emerge as a strong engine of economic growth and social development in India. India has the highest proportion of arable land, as compared to most countries, notably USA and China. More than 30 per cent of Asia’s irrigated land is in India.
Technology and corporate involvement can help improve agricultural productivity significantly and give the farmers what they truly deserve.
If one goes by market data and taking a cue from the recent article by Mr. Mukesh Ambani, India has the potential to enhance agricultural production by over ten times. Israel produces US $5.8 million in agriculture output per square kilometre of arable land. India produces just US $88,000.

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