Tuesday, May 12, 2015

India: Uttar Pradesh farmers to get top government priority

by Sudhanshu Singh
Group photograph with UP Chief Minister Mr. Akhilesh Yadav (center) and IRRI's Sudhanshu Singh (behind, right of CM).

Emphasizing the importance of farmers, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav announced that farmers’ welfare would receive top government priority. Mr. Yadav also stressed the use of scientific methods in agriculture in his address to farmers through an interactive videoconference.

“The prosperity of a country lies in the happiness of farmers,” he said. “To assist farmers with fresh seeds and higher yield varieties of crops, apart from agriculture implements, the state government should commission scientists to ensure expert advices reached the farmers and to give them necessary inputs for better farming.”

Uttar Pradesh is celebrating 2015 as the year of farmers and the state government has pledge to provide solutions to the many problems plaguing its agriculture sector such as unpredictable weather. The Chief Minister advised farmers to use scientific methods in agriculture to safeguard against vagaries of nature. Citing examples of developed countries that have suffered from similar crop losses, Mr. Yadav said they have made alternative arrangements to protect farmers’ yields from calamities.

Agriculture Minister R.K. Singh, senior secretaries, district officials, and progressive farmers from the 70 districts of Uttar Pradesh also participated in the 5-hour interactive videoconferencing held on 6 May in Lucknow.

Dr. V.K. Mishra, head of the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute in Lucknow, Dr. V.N. Singh, retired rice scientist, and Sudhanshu Singh, a rainfed lowland agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, were also at the event. They interacted with the farmers and offered suggestions on various issues raised by progressive farmers from across the state.

Dr. Singh shared information on stress tolerant rice varieties (STRVs) and other technologies IRRI is promoting in eastern India through the Stress-Tolerant Rice for Africa and South Asia project, the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia, and the Improved Rice-based Rainfed Agricultural Systems project. He also briefed the minister and senior secretaries on the various activities conducted by IRRI in eastern Uttar Pradesh. District officials showed huge interest in promoting STRVs and proper management technologies to help ease the plight of many smallholder farmers.

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