~Emerging Trends in Agriculture
Agriculture in Assam is in the midst of multi-faceted problems like regular yearly flood associated with erosion, undeclared drought situations in naturally drought prone areas, false grain in paddy crop, sudden pest infestation (swarming caterpillar and rice hispa) in epidemic form, lack of elite quality planting material, spurious ferilizers and pesticides, lack of working capital support, sporadic irrigation facilities, recent shortage of skilled manpower in fieldworks, improper market infrastructure, negligence of the Govt in disseminating marketing insights etc and the last of all lack of foresight and determination of leadership to utilize youthpower in Agriculture in an organized way. Among all these odds, there are still rays of hope. Some of our youths in Assam and Northeast India are also following the emerging trends in Agriculture in tune with the youths of the mainstream India. In these days of free access to information, they have also minutely worked towards latest world trends. In spite of continuous work-force drain from agriculture to other sectors, a new generation of educated youths with new ideas, passion and innovations are looking it as a sustainable business and they have developed themselves as modern farmers or agripreneurs trying to infuse latest knowledge and technologies in the sector, making it hi-tech one. They have conceived the idea of market-oriented production of commodities, and some of them even have successfully used the different social media for mutual exchange of ideas, help and cooperation in augmenting farm production and promoting marketing of their products/commodities. It is because of their entry in this age-old sector that agriculture is rapidly evolving into agribusiness in terms of approach and structure. They have helped in linking agri value chain by delivering efficient products,technologies and services to the farmers in one hand and the consumers on the other hand. They have revolutionized the food and agriculture sector with innovations and technology driven StartUps, from ICT apps to farm automation, weather forecasting to drones, input retailing to equipment renting, online vegetable marketing, smart poultry and dairy ventures, from protected cultivation to innovative food processing and packaging. Government programs like Skilled India, StartUp India, Stand Up India, MUDRA to ACABC and Udaan help budding entrepreneurs to start and scale up new ventures.
It is a good news that the Mudra Loan for Agriculture Allied Activities upto Rs 10 lakhs will be given by all banks to agripreneurs without taking any security, as directed by the Govt of India (2016). And the State Bank of India has already launched this scheme officially as a product so that even StartUps can avail the facility. Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) held one convention for Agril. StartUps to leverage their efforts in a platform in the last February; and there will be an International Agricultural, Dairy and Food Processing Trade Fair in Hitex Exhibition Centre, Hydetabad from October 04-06 to be organised under Agritex India 2018 for sharing solutions and ideas, developing trade relationships and business networking. Come one and all, let’s work in agriculture and its allied sectors after acquiring requisite skills and related information; you are to work systematically, may be in your own style and create glamour in the sector to attract others as well. Profit and Prestige for Peasants should be our goal with production of high value crops so that Purchases of the commodities in the market brings Progress in the economic condition of the farmers as producer-sellers.