Bettering farm yields
Apropos of the edit 'Hiking farm returns' (FE, April 29), India, by virtue of its diversity and size of demography and geography, cannot be subjected to an one-size-fits-all approach. Minimum support prices, for specific crops, help augment farm income and help the primary service sector increase their income, resulting in a healthy churn of income from top levels of the economy. It is not possible to completely do away with minimum support prices as they continue to be a sort of fallback measure for farmers who have to weather uncertainties ranging from climate and water to government policies and middlemen. While the emphasis on increased yields is welcome, we cannot compromise on soil fertility at the same time. We need to increase our yield undoubtedly, spread the roots of Green Revolution far and wide, as has been successfully done in some North-Eastern states. But excessive use of fertilisers has been proven to damage soil fertilty and contribute to failing of crops. That said, providing better irrigation facilities is more likely to help farmers, especially in the rain-fed areas which are also home to some cash crops. Rising farm incomes will lead to integration of better technology and know-how in agricultural practices. The government should continue with MSPs while boosting increased yields so as to maintain the precarious balance. One major concern here is the increased giving away of agricultural land for commercial uses, something which needs to be debated because if left unchecked, it will emerge as a serious trouble spot in the future.
Gaurav Gupta, Delhi