Provide farmers with means to salvage wet grains, M S Swaminathan tells states

Agriculture scientist also suggests maintaining seed reserves for growing alternate short-duration crops

 
By Jitendra
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015 | 02:50:09 AM

Heavy rainfall and hailstorm have caused extensive damage to the wheat crop (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

In the wake of extensive crop loss due to unseasonal rainfall and hailstorm in March, agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan has written a letter to the chief ministers of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, outlining measures to tackle the crisis.

Swaminathan, known as the father of the Green Revolution in India, has suggested that wet grains be immediately dried and short-duration crops sowed to offset at least a part of the losses.

According to him, 2014-15 has been characterised by unfavourable weather which was bad for crops in several parts of northern India. From the first week of March till now, three spells of severe hailstorm and rainfall have damaged wheat, mustard, kinnow, mangoes and several fruits and vegetables. The extensive crop loss has put farmers in a quandary. With each passing day, their debts are mounting and relief measures are nowhere to be seen.

“December 2014 was warm and experienced above-normal temperatures. As a consequence, the growth of the wheat crop was accelerated and in many early-sown wheat fields, panicles emerged ahead of time,” Swaminathan says in the letter.

He emphasised on seed reserves of short-duration crops to tide over the losses to some extent.

“Seed reserves of alternative short-duration crops are as important for crop security, as food grain reserves are important for food security. Hence, seed banks to manage climate change are important,” Swaminthan's letter reads.

For contingency plans to save farmers and farming, he suggested incentives be given to them to protect grains from damage by moulds.

“As soon as the rain stops, incentives may be given for the use of combine harvesters and for grain drying. Grain drying is a must to prevent the development of mycotoxins,” the letter reads.

It adds that “community nurseries of short-duration Satti rice can be raised for transplantation by May 2015. The water table is just now high and hence, water may not be a problem. Farmers may be assisted in cultivating short-duration rice, maize, moong or millets. They all require less water and public funds may be used for implementing this contingency plan to compensate for the losses incurred. Short-duration crops can be harvested before the regular kharif season 2015”.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Related Story:

Farmers gather in Delhi to demand compensation for crop loss

Unseasonal rains damage crops estimated to be worth Rs 10,000 crore

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

  • Good Advice. Dr.A.Jagadeesh

    Good Advice.
    Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP)

    Posted by: Anonymous | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Is MSS assuming that the

    Is MSS assuming that the state agriculture department is sleeping or are voiceless? Given his long stint in the government this assumption may be unfortunate and yet turn out to be true. However, one size fits all prescription will do more damages. Most of these suggestions have been in the knowledge domain for a while but appears to be put in the back-burner by exogencies of the national flagship programmes. For instance, all three-NFSM, RKVY and ATMA waste no time emphasising and actually haranguing the farmers with dubious merits of SRR that has strong backend support of seed suppliers that in turn is tied up in a comfortable and cozy arrangements for commercial gains. The seed bank concept is highly local and compassionate as opposed to global and competitive. Will MSS suggestion make the compassionate grade is not a moot query.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 4 years ago | Reply