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 Session on Agriculture and Rural Development
 
Session on Agriculture and Rural Development
 
Speakers :
Mr. N. Rangasamy: MLA, Former, Chief Minister of Puducherry
Dr. S. Sambandamurthi, Former Dean, Tamilnadu Agriculture University
Dr. S. Ananda Kumar, Associate Professor, PJN College of Agriculture & Research Institue, Karaikal
Mr. M. Santhanam, Dhan Foundation

Mr. C. Chinnasamy Inaugurated the Session and Introduced the Speakers

Excerpts from the session
Mr. N. Rangasamy: Keynote address

In Pondicherry, agricultural land is reducing. There are many reasons, for example, industrial growth and residential growth. Industries are also important as they will increase employment opportunities for educated youth. New techniques to be brought in to enhance food production so that cost will be less and production will increase. Water is important for agriculture, but we are depending only on groundwater. So, groundwater must be preserved. Water to be used sparingly, especially in agriculture. So, we should cultivate crops which use less water. Industries which use more water should not be encouraged. Animal Husbandry and Fisheries should be encouraged.

Dr. S. Sambandamurthi – Topic: Focus on livelihood opportunities

Agriculture was considered a primary sector long ago, but this has changed. Pondicherry was never selfsufficient in food. Population is increasing, but food supply is not enough. Government should allocate sufficient funds for agriculture sector. Collective farming can be developed. Precision farming also needs to be encouraged. Horticulture is also another area for growth which has to be tapped.

Mr. M. Santhanam – Topic: Scaling up rural development initiatives and role of grassroot level agencies

In agriculture, we are not in a position to fix a rate for our produce, unlike in manufacture sector. Collective farming, integrated farming, animal husbandry have to be developed. Contribution of NGOs also plays an important role in the growth of the agriculture sector. They can go to academicians, bureaucrats, industrialists and so on and explain the demand and supply situations. They can also suggest the crops to be cultivated.

Dr. S. Anand Kumar – Topic: Focus on Livelihood opportunities

Karaikal has lost many a hectare of agricultural land in the last decade. Food grain production has also declined. The reason being that farmers make a meagre profit out of their produce. Non-availability of labour, extreme climate events, increasing cost of cultivation, continuing soil degradation and water scarcity may make agriculture extinct in the next 50 yrs. Thus, livelihood options essential to sustain agriculture for 50 years and beyond will be a strategy to stop migration from villages, linking welfare schemes with agriculture employment, labour exchange/bank, matching wages to compliment farmer’s share, promoting energy efficient and emission cutting organic agriculture including payments to farmers for their environmental services through carbon credits in order to combat climate extreme events, increasing cost of cultivation and continuing soil degradation. These livelihood options will help sustain agriculture till 2025 and beyond.

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