A new Proposal to Modernize farming In India and end Farmer suicides.


Climate change is the real game changer for this initiative. Small and medium Farmers are not equipped to deal /understand planets changing food habitat. I wrote about this way back in 2011. https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/climate-change-get-used-to-new-kind-of-food/

The new idea to solve the problems of farmers is as follows.

Milestones that can be achieved : Banks spared from Loan losses, rural employment, Evolution of new business models, increase in soil fertility, crop yields due to scientific farming methods, agri-soil data analytics,  climate analytics, productivity gains in food supply logistics, new startups possibility and rural villages will thrive. Reduction/Elimination of corruption in agricultural activities .

Problem:

Small and medium farmers are succumbing to the enormous amount of debts, rising cost of living and failure of crops due to drought or excess rainfall or due to bad quality seeds and poor farming practices.

Banks stopped giving fresh loans, the government reimbursements end up paying old debts, fertilizer prizes are skyrocketing and private loan sharks loot whatever is left with the poor families of the farmer.

Banks targeted loan payments is 15, 000 crores but they disbursed just 6000 crores according to a regional newspaper article (link provided below).

Even if farmer succeed to raise crops the middle men robs the profits by paying a fraction of the amount and making bumper profits from the sales of the farmers yields in the open market. This is because all these small farmers do not have the financial leverage to store their produce nor to take it to the markets and sell.

On top of it the politicians use the situation for their advantage in the form of short term popular policies to garner more votes. They do not sincerely show empathy, passion to solve the problem.

Even if they announce policies with good intention there is no strict follow up to the end and in the name of these policies political and middle men swindle more money. In a nutshell there is no proper planning/auditing till the “LAST MILE” in everything the Government does constantly for ever.

The consequences: Due to above factors and many other reasons farmers are attempting suicide and families are coming on to the roads.

The situation is grave in many southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana   India.

In regional newspaper (http://eenadu.net/news/newsitem.aspx?item=hyd-panel&no=1 ) the following statistics are given about the farmers suicides.

In the above states since 1997 till 2013 the suicides have risen from 1097 to 2014 and during 2015 there are around 1000 suicides.

The situation is becoming worse for the farmers who feed the nations billions of people.

The present solution:

Government implements popular measures of reimbursements, short term help to farmers in the form of subsidy and other methods. All of the present methods are short term solutions without any substantial benefits to the farmers for long term.

The policies of the government appears as a reaction measures only not preventive measures.

Opposition parties try their best to gain sympathy for more votes for their future elections from this fiasco.

The failure of the present solution

Some of these reimbursements end up with several rich farmers, politicians, their coterie of gangs and fake account holders who capitalize on these more than the real farmers who needs them. The whole system of reimbursement is full of looting and exploitation by some vested interests starting from the politician to influential people in the society.

The same thing happens in several other infrastructure developments, where government money is spent. These cartel of powerful politician, businessmen and their coterie of gangs make the most of every developmental work in India. The results of the infrastructure development is of low quality work and creates bad image about the country to outsiders.

The new solution:

To solve the vexing problem I propose the following solutions.

The gist of the proposal is to change the language and the perception of problem definition in order to get a right solution.

I redefined this problem from a corporate perceptive and framed my question of the problem. The question is now reframed as follows.

“How to sustain a business for long term while solving the present challenges”

By focusing on the problem in several other form of questions as above I could come to the following solution. If implemented this will solve several problems, country like India faces.

My purpose is to bring agricultural practices to a level playing field across the country with global best practices implemented with grassroot realities and development.

  1. Under national skills development program train students/ others who are interested in Agriculture to modern farming methods sourcing the best practices from countries such as Israel.
  2. Educate the farmers to outsource their lands for a fixed amount payable quarterly or half yearly. The land still belongs to them but the work is outsourced to professional farming companies. Pool all the small and medium farmers’ lands together to make a large agricultural land available for large scale farming with most modern methods sourced from across the globe.
  3. Use the trained students / others / owners of the farm lands to work in the fields with the best international practice implementations. Pay for their work as regular salaries or for a fixed price. Job creation for rural youth.
  4. Rope in venture capital funding agencies, businesses and global equity / money market funds and encourage them to invest in agriculture with tax benefits for the investments.
  5. Allow start up entrepreneurs work closely with cultivators to come up with new apps, products , services , storage facilities, logistics and other closely related works with venture funds made available for them.
  6. Support start-up companies that handle the logistics of preserving the food grains , transporting food till it reaches every house hold.
  7. Let government not involved in the whole supply chain logistics including the Last Mile but make sure to monitor strictly the whole process with regular checks and cross checks.

Benefits from the above method:

  1. Farmers are assured with fixed incomes from their lands.
  2. Banks need not take the burden of non-payment of loans nor they need not allocate huge amounts for loans and end up with NPA’s (Non-performing assets).
  3. Government need not spend huge amounts on reimbursements
  4. Eliminate middle men, brokers from the food supply chain.
  5. Provide opportunities for start-up business to flourish which will in turn gives more employment to rural youth.
  6. Land pooling will help in producing more and diversified crops with yields better than segmented pieces of lands cultivation.
  7. Misuse or excess use of fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides can be eliminated since the farming is done by professionals.
  8. Helps in streamlining of food supply chain logistics and encourages ancillary units development in and around the villages.
  9. Local youth will become productive by honing their farming skills in the national skills development program and they get exposure to industry best practices. Solves unemployment and youth turning to crime problems.
  10. Helps entrepreneurs to come up with more start up ideas around agriculture with agricultural e commerce , apps development in ebay like auctions to flipkart like retails sales.
  • Provides opportunity for new business models to evolve from this.

Conclusion.

Check this video of the reality of the food problem and other facts about Indian situations . http://www.storypick.com/man-in-bus-video/

With further honing of the above idea Government can focus on support and sustenance of the projects and private professional players taking care of the real work. Slowly government can untangle from Commerce /business completely, by gradually outsourcing all the work to outside agencies and that will reduce the corruption in the country to a large extent.

I felt this is the best method to end Corruption in the country because the roots of all corruption starts from powerful politician, businessmen and percolates down to different government agencies.

Landbank

Food waste. Let’s not contribute to this. How to keep produce fresh.. Read on


Next time you saw food thrown into the dust bin think hard how many resources get wasted such as water, fertilizers, farmers tirelessly working in the fields(labor),Land used for food production,  food storage and the whole supply chain for bringing food to where we live. We waste lot’s of food without any reasons. More food is cooked then required in a family in most of the houses and excess thrown out. Food is also wasted by restaurants, hotels ,in parties and in many other ways.

According to food and agricultulture organization of United nations http://www.fao.org/ (FAO) Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. We all should know that millions of people somewhere on this planet are dying with hunger and on the other hand we throw away lots of food.  We also loose food and meat due to poor storage facilities, improper transportations and bad handling.

Agriculture uses largest amount of water. Food waste leads to water waste. The food thrown into garbage rots and produce methane gas which is much more deadly than carbon dioxide and depletes ozone layer that protects us from ultraviolet rays of Sun and Methane gas contributes to global warming. This whole thing effects food production with no rains or too much rains and leads to FOOD LOSS. Food loss is crop lost to natural calamities or deadly farm diseases whereas FOOD WASTE is a careless act of humans not paying attention to details of how they are getting food to their tables. Inadvertently we are all contributing heavily towards food loss, food wastage leading to global warming and racing towards food crises and water crises.

Other key findings of FAO of United Nations are.

Industrialized and developing countries dissipate roughly the same quantities of food — respectively 670 and 630 million tonnes.

Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes).

Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food.

The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world’s annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010).

Food waste is more a problem in industrialized countries, most often caused by both retailers and consumers throwing perfectly edible foodstuffs into the trash. Per capita waste by consumers is between 95-115 kg a year in Europe and North America, while consumers in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia each throw away only 6-11 kg a year.

There is this infograph on how food is wasted globally click on the link for more details http://www.publichealthdegree.com/ 

Read more by clicking here http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/ags/publications/GFL_web.pdf

http://www.unwater.org/downloads/Paper_13_Field_to_Fork.pdf

How to keep Fruits and vegetables Fresh…

A group of Scientists from Malaysia found out that if they coat the fruits, vegetables with  gum Arabic, a natural product from the Acacia trees of Sudan, Africa they are able to keep fruits, vegetables from rotting. Also a company has used the rotten fruits, vegetables and extracted a natural chemical and coated fresh fruits , vegetables with that liquid to keep Food fresh. More details about this can be obtained here.  http://apeeltech.com/

I request you to educate your family, friends and others as much as possible to reduce wastage of food and water. Be a part of the solution.  Next time you look at food think of this blog. Please Spread this information to save people from hunger

Question Box


For those of us who can access internet we have instant information at our finger tips. We can search for any kind of news  instantaneously. Imagine if a farmer wants to know about weather so that he can plan is next crop or how to get rid of fungus, or virus or pests causing damage to his crops. Imagine a school students who did not understand a math problem. An unemployed youth wants to know where to find a job.  Where could all these people go for answers if they don’t have access to internet at their place ? Most of  the people in rural and town   don’t have access to Internet.   I know many students who are in higher education (pursuing engineering and MBA like courses)  who cannot pay for internet access.  In Order to connect  many people and to provide instant answers to any kind of question a novel project was started by Openmind called Question Box. It  is small metallic box with a phone attached and a operator who speaks the local language to take any kind of question. The Box will be attached to a shop or a school or college wall. People can dial and get answers from the operator on the other side   Question Box is an encyclopedia, Google, a library, and teacher combined into one small metallic box.  Question Box only needs mobile phone coverage, a handset, and a power supply to work. Anyone can ask any questions. The Operator will get back to you with answers. You can query a simple math problem to complex aerodynamics or space related matter or crop related or medical related questions. The Open question box is now in Haiti, India, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, and Sierra Leone with funding from the Grameen bank and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations.  Question Box operators have built invaluable databases of local information that can be accessed instantly.  For information and bringing Question Box to your village, town or city click on the links

http://questionbox.org/

http://www.openmind.org/

http://questionbox.org/about-open-question-for-developers/