National Convention on Revitalizing Rainfed Agriculture : An initiative by RRA Networks Held in Delhi

VISHAL MALHOTRA/JITENDER PAL

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New Delhi : (14/02/2019) Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture Network (RRAN) in collaboration with National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India & National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (MANAGE) organised a National Convention on ‘Revitalising Rainfed Agriculture – Restructuring Policy and Public Investments to address Agrarian Crisis’ in Delhi.



The two-day convention on Rain-fed agriculture, saw the participation of over 450 farmers, policy makers, researchers, academicians and civil society practitioners across the country.

The participants shared their experiences and spoke about policy priorities for rainfed agriculture to address agrarian crisis. The main aim of the convention was to discuss themes of Rainfed agriculture, build a consensus and emphasize the necessity for differential policies and programmes- both at the Centre and the State.

Speaking at the session on 2nd day, Padma Shri Awardee Bharat Bhushan Singh said,

“We should realise that farmers don’t require ‘Jugaad’. That is something farmers can do very nicely but the main thing that farmers require is new technologies from the government which can reduce the manpower and patience spent to get results on field.”

Leena Johri, Joint Secretary, Department of Rural Development, Govt. of India also shared her opinion while addressing the session on the second day.

The focus of this National Convention is to identify Rainfed agriculture as an issue of national importance. Apart from an inaugural and a plenary session, the thought-provoking convention witnessed various theme-based sessions such as Agroecology and Living Soils – The Policy Problem, Alternative Budgetary Framework for Rainfed Agriculture, Draught Animal Use in Rainfed Agriculture – Potential and Policy Imperatives and Evolving Appropriate Seed Systems for Climate Resilient Agriculture to Stimulate Growth, spread over two days.

According to National Rainfed Area Authority (2012), out of 593 districts in India, 499 districts are rainfed. Rainfed areas contribute significantly to food production – as high as 89% of millets, 88% of pulses, 73% of cotton, 69% of oil seeds, and 40% of rice are produced by Rainfed farmers in the country. Rainfed areas in the country support 64% cattle, 74% sheep and 78% goat population, which are critical for food and nutritional security in India.

“India ranks first in Rainfed agriculture, both in area and value of produce. More than 60% farmers are dependent on rainfed agriculture for their livelihood. Over the years, farmers in rainfed areas have been facing several adversities such as climate variability, crop failure, non-remunerative prices etc. Rainfed agriculture has historically been at the receiving end of imbalances in terms of policy and public investments”, Dr. Ashok Dalwai said.

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