“My Government is dedicatedly working towards the development of farmers and my aim is to hike farmers’ income under the new agriculture policy,” Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik had said at the inaugural function of a five-day agriculture expo, ‘Krushi Odisha-2020’ on January 20, 2020, held at Janata Maidan in Bhubaneswar. And he stayed true to his words.
This year, Odisha was awarded the Krushi Karman award, all for the right reason. For starters, the state is doing a commendable job in the field of agriculture. The government has already announced the agriculture budget of 2020-21 with an outlay of Rs 19,408 crores.
Odisha is one of the few states whose agriculture sector has been witnessing prosperity for the past 20 years. The income of the farmers has more than doubles during 2002-03 to 2012-13. In the latest budget, they have announced a new agricultural policy called SAMRUDHI.
SAMRUDHI- An agriculture policy of innovations
In between 2002 and 2016, the GDP from the farming sector doubled in Odisha’s case. While the all India average in terms of annual growth rate stands at 3.1 percent, it stands at 4.5 percent for the state. The farmers of the state have been growing, all thanks to the policies of the state government.
SAMRUDHI- the policy that has been designed for 2020, focuses on inclusive and continuous growth in their income for the next five years. The policy is planned in a manner that it benefits small and marginal farmers while ensuring a sustainable, eco-friendly growth complemented by the use of proper technology.
Broadly the policy that might take Odisha a step closer to its agriculture vision is backed by 8 pillars. They are- leveraging science & technology, adaptation to climate change, domestic & global markets, resource use efficiency & productivity, up-scaling infrastructure, diversification of high-value agriculture, human resources upgrading and strengthening institutions.
Technology- The way forward
What makes SAMRUDHI the most attractive is perhaps the manner in which the state is making use of the technology that is accessible to them. The policy suggests the creation of agriculture production clusters.
The state also has plans of creating an agro-ecological map, which will help in identifying the ideal cropping pattern. The state is also planning to digitize its assets like ponds and lakes so as to help the fisheries sector.
It also pushes for the use of new-age technologies like machine learning, artificial intelligence, remote sensing, geographic information system (GIS), in order to improve the quality of farming and farm products.
The planning and the progress that the state has achieved in the agriculture sector is unparalleled. The state policy for 2020, is a learning ground for many other states which still haven’t updated the age-old techniques. Odisha is moving ahead with time and technology and its tried and tested success story is inspiring others to do so.