‘Krushi Odisha’, the annual flagship five-day exhibition cum agriculture fair was organised by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha in collaboration with FICCI. The fair was held from 20-24th January 2020 at Janata Maidan, Bhubaneswar. The mega program envisages leading farmers to profitability. Krushi Odisha takes into consideration various aspects of agriculture including farm income, implements, modern technology in farming, financial assistance to farmers and capacity building. The second day of Krushi Odisha is being celebrated as Cooperation and Banking Day.
The highlight of the Cooperation and Banking Day was that it was celebrated in the evening in presence of Dr Arun Kumar Sahoo, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development and Higher Education, Government of Odisha. A user guide, as well as a website on e-licensing for farmers, was launched by the Government of Odisha on the occasion.
The Hon’ble Minister said that Krushi Odisha is an opportune platform for development and awareness of farmers in the state and that the Naveen Patnaik-led government is working tirelessly towards enhancing the farmers’ income. The e-licensing website launched today will immensely help our farmer brothers. Dr. Arun Kumar Sahoo also visited the exhibition and stalls.
The Chief Guest of the occasion, Sri Ranendra Pratap Swain, Hon’ble Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Co-operation, invoked the Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi while addressing the gathering. He said that Gandhiji always talked about empowering the farmers. He then went on to say that discussion on farmer suicide mitigation and decreasing dependence on imports for potato and onions should be made at forums like Krushi Odisha. He extended full support of his department towards farmer welfare. He also pointed out that while farmers over the country are facing losses, farmers in Odisha are seeing an upward trend in their income and lifestyle, thanks to the farmer-friendly policies of the state government.
The day consisted of two seminars and two pathshaalas running simultaneously from 10-1 pm and then 2-5 pm respectively. The first seminar of the day was on ‘Climate Smart Technology’ and ‘Water Resources Management for Improved Productivity in Agriculture’. The session was moderated by Mr Tapan Padhy, Director of Water and Forestry Programme, RCDC.
J.K. Rath, Chairman, FICCI MSME Committee, Odisha, introduced the panel, which included Tapan Padhy, Director of Water and Forestry Programme, RCDC, Mr Anjan Mandal, Chief of Sales and Marketing, SkyMet Weather, Dr Sangita Ladha, VP-Marketing and Business Development, Jain Irrigation and Pushpendra Johari, Sr VP, RMSI Noida.
Tapan Padhy discussed how climate change has outsmarted all of us and suggested ways and means of carrying out sustainable agriculture in the time of climate change. Similarly, Anjan Mandal focused on forecasting technologies for agriculture supply chain management. He elaborated on the app developed by SkyMet Weather, SkyMitra, which helps in giving local farmers advance weather forecast in seven languages including English, Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu, Odia and Punjabi. He also informed that SkyMet has put up than 7,000 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) across the country, with over 100 AWS located in Odisha in Bhadrak, Balasore and Ganjam districts.
Dr Sangita Ladha is an M. Tech from IIT Kharagpur. She delved on the issues of greenhouse technology and precision farming. She displayed a video where her team planted a grapevine across 600 hectares of desert in Israel by using drip irrigation methods. The first paathshala of the day was on ‘Farm Mechanisation and Micro Irrigation for Minimising Production Cost’. The paathshala enlightened the audience on important facts like how Odisha uses power tillers more than any other state in the country. The paathshala lay stress on the fact that in order to increase production, we have to increase usage of farm machine tools from the existing 40 percent to a more advanced 90 percent, like the USA.
The second seminar of the day was on the topic: Sustainable Solutions for Agriculture in India with Special Focus on Odisha. Dr M Muthukumar, Director of Agriculture and Food Production, Govt. of Odisha was present on the occasion. He said that industrialisation and urbanisation have led to loss of farmland. He also pointed that Odisha has achieved doubling of farm income, but as we see, farm income has lessened while non-farm income has increased.
Session moderator Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Director, National Rice Research Institute (NRRI) welcomed everyone, from scientists to students and farmers, to the event. He said:
“In India, we have been cultivating paddy for the last 7,000 years. It has become a part not only of our food but also our culture. Rice is not just a business, it’s our heritage. No social or community program is complete without rice and it forms a big part of society in Odisha, India and in fact the whole of Asia.”
Dr. Arvind Kumar, Director, IRRI, International Rice Research Institute, South Asia Regional Centre (ISARC), stressed on the need for transforming a food-deficit Asia to a food secure one. He also said, “I don’t think there is a trade-off between sustainable agriculture and farmer’s profitability.”
Likewise, the second paathshala of the day focused on ‘Risk in Agriculture – Management and Mitigation’. The paathshala educated farmers on mitigation of problems faced by them right from sowing seeds, to harvesting their crops, and the insurance policy of the government of Odisha. The day was concluded by a cultural program that was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.
Featured image provided by the author.