IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE

AGRICULTURE

The art and science of cultivating plants and raising livestock are known as Agriculture. It helps to provide food and fabrics. Over centuries, agriculture remarks the growth of civilization. Before knowing agriculture people spent most of their time for searching food. Agriculture enabled the surplus production of foods to the people. We all know that agriculture is the backbone of the economy of a country. In addition to providing food and raw materials, agriculture also helps in providing several job opportunities. Let’s see why agriculture is important

IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURE

  1. SOURCE OF FOOD: About 70% of people rely on agriculture for their livelihood. It’s the source of food supply. No matter what we eat and where we eat. All ingredients in the foods must be from somewhere. All road leads to agriculture. If a country is suffering from food insecurity and malnourishment, then it means that the agricultural sector is suffering in that country. Not only food, but it also provides fodder for domestic animals.
  2. MAIN SOURCE OF RAW MATERIALS: Agriculture is the major source of raw materials to the industries. Many raw materials like cotton, sugar, spices, wood, oil come from agriculture. These materials are essential in the industries to create a product. Agro-based industries contribute about 50% of income to the manufacturing sectors of the country.
  3. BOOSTS THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE: Both the raw materials and the products produced by using the raw materials are exported in each country. Countries with surplus growth of certain products export to the other countries. If a country’s agriculture sector suffers, the prices will go up and the trade will be affected. So, the effect on agriculture will directly affect the country’s trade.
  4. INCREASES NATIONAL REVENUE: Most of the developing countries depend on agriculture to increase their income. However, developed countries do not depend on agriculture for trade.
  5. EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES: The agricultural sector still provides large employment opportunities for the people. Whether you can work as a farmer or harvester or technician for farm equipment or scientist or researcher there are several jobs available in this sector. The unemployment rate in developing countries can be reduced by agriculture. To eradicate poverty, focusing on agriculture is the most efficient way.
  6. FOR COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The country’s agriculture sector is tied with the economic development of the country. When there is an increase in export and national revenue, the country enjoys reduced poverty and boosted economic growth. Focusing on agriculture is one of the best ways to speed up the development and standard of a country.
  7. INCREASES THE TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION: For the growing population, the country must possess enough food to reduce hunger. To fasten the growing of crops, several innovations have been made in the growth of crops. Through Blockchain software, artificial intelligence, and gene manipulation, scientists are working to increase production by using less water and avoiding leaving negative impacts on the environment. Agribusiness is the more fascinating field to work on.
  8. REFLECTS OUR FUTURE: When it comes to pollution and climatic changes, the agriculture sector will face the quickest consequences. If effective changes are not made, then the impact on agriculture will directly impact the country’s economy and vanish the food supply. The state of agriculture in a country is a good litmus paper to look at how the future will be.

THE SUFFEREING OF INDIAN FARMERS

Thousands of farmers from Haryana and Punjab have surrounded Delhi for the past four months in defiance of the three ordinances passed by the Indian parliament on September 14, 2020. This protest, which has gathered thousands of farmers in the capital and set up camp on three major sites in the city, is being dubbed the single largest protest in human history. Farmers are expressing their dissatisfaction with the bills, fearing that they will simply empower big companies and leave farmers at their mercy.

Farmers- The Core of Our Economy

India’s agricultural sector has shown resilience in the face of COVID-induced lockdowns, according to the Economic Survey 2020-2021. Agriculture and related activities were the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal GDP efficiency, growing at a rate of 3.4 percent at constant prices in 2020-21. The agriculture sector employs more than half of the country’s workforce. We must comprehend our farmers’ plight and the difficulties they have faced. Be it colonial-induced famines, landowner exploitation, debt burdens, recent locust invasions, crop destruction due to severe weather conditions, or alarmingly high suicide rates. It is our responsibility to listen carefully and understand their concerns as well as the reasons for their dissatisfaction.

The Modifications has been Simplified

The three farm bills proposed are as follows –

The Essential Commodities Act (which is based on a colonial-era law governing the quantity of produce that can be stored or sold) only provides for the control of particular food products in the event of natural disasters or war.

This amendment restricts the ability of the federal government and states to enforce stock and price limits. These restrictions should only be enforced in an emergency. As a result, large companies now have complete leverage over resources such as cereals, pulses, edible oil, onions, and potatoes.

The Farmers’ Produce Exchange and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, also known as the APMC Bypass Bill, addresses the mechanism that now allows farmers to trade their produce both intra-state and inter-state. Previously, they could only carry their produce to the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) Mandis, no matter how far away they were. This bill also provides for electronic produce trading and e-commerce. It prohibits the state government from charging farmers or electronic trading platforms a market fee for selling produce outside of the designated mandi.

The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, the third bill, allows farmers to participate in “contract farming,” which allows them to enter into a contract with Agri-firms or large buyers for a specific crop at a predetermined price.

What is the aim of Farmer’s Mobilization

The aim of these bills appears to be to benefit and enable farmers to sell at larger markets without being taxed, engage in e-commerce, minimise interactions with middlemen, and incorporate technology into their farming practises. All of this is made possible by the ruling party’s deregulatory reforms, which encourage privatisation. In India, contract farming is not a new phenomenon. Contract farming has already been tried by the governments of Punjab and Gujarat. Their knowledge will aid us in determining the possible consequences of the new legislation in other parts of the world. Let’s take a peek at the state of Punjab. For more than three decades, PepsiCo has been involved in contract farming and has proven to be profitable. Farmers’ incomes increased as a result of the increased jobs. PepsiCo’s arrival ushered in a potato revolt. Small-scale or neglected producers, on the other hand, are said to be dissatisfied. Sunara Singh, a 15-acre farmer, claims that small-scale farmers who try to sell a few kilos of produce (as opposed to the tonnes sold by large-scale farmers) are not even spoken to politely or given gate passes to PepsiCo’s premises, as stated by Basant Kumar in an article for NewsLaundary in October 2020.

Another issue with the proposed laws is that, in the event of a conflict between a large company and a farmer, most small farmers have little resources in terms of time, funding, or legal skills. Farmers are unable to resolve cases ex post facto in either a civil or SDM (Sub-district magistrate) court due to a lack of documentary evidence to support their claims. The farmer will eventually be at the mercy of the corporate buyer. The bill mentions a Minimum Sales Price (MSP) for the crops, but no concrete legislation is in place to enact it. MSP does not have a statutory backup. MSP serves as a benchmark or signal price for all crop trade in the United States.

“The point is that in a country where 86 per cent of farmers have a land of the size of
fewer than two hectares, you can’t expect the farmer to carry his produce to far off
places to sell. What we need is an assured price for the farmers. If the markets are
saying they will provide a higher price to farmers, the question is a higher price to
what? There must be some benchmark.” Says Davindar Sharma, a food and trade policy
analyst at Al Jazeera.

The Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act, also known as the Mandi system, was repealed by the state government of Bihar in 2006. “The financial situation of 94% of farmers in Bihar — who didn’t go to mandis or weren’t covered under minimum support price (MSP) — should have improved in the past 14 years, but their situation has worsened,” says economist DM Diwakar. This goes on to show that removing and selling agricultural produce outside of the APMC’s jurisdiction has an effect on the MSP that farmers are obligated to earn while trading inside the APMC Market Yard.

Educate, Organize, Agitate and Fact-Check!

Freedom of speech is important in a democracy. It must encourage people to express themselves, whether via social media sites, toolkits, or rallies. Tear gas and water cannons were used on protesters, demonstrators were arrested for standing up for their cause or without overt proof of a foreign plot, and the right to private counsel was denied during remand.

The Indian media has based its attention on the forces that have created instability, losing sight of the true causes of the unrest. Is it fair to ignore or, to put it another way, ridicule the majority of demonstrators who carried out their dissent in accordance with the government’s parameters and routes because a few groups had ulterior motives?

We must educate ourselves from reliable sources and double-check the information we ingest. We appear to equate oppressed people’s rage with their lack of credibility. We must empathise with the agitation and place it in perspective. If we really want to stand in solidarity, we must put an end to the dissemination of misinformation.

Role of Biodiversity and Agriculture in making of Atmanirbhar Bharat

While flipping pages of my Geography textbook, a fact caught my eye – two third of the population of India is engaged in agricultural activities. We are blessed to have diverse climatic conditions because of which we see a variety of flora and fauna, and grow so many veggies, fruits and other crops. But India still imports a lot of harvested produce from other countries.

Atmanirbhar Bharat

Atmanirbhar Bharat, which translates to ‘self-reliant India’ or ‘self-sufficient India’, is a policy formulated by Prime minister of India Narendra Modi for making India a bigger and more important part of the global economy. It was launched on 12 May 2020  during the announcement of India’s COVID-19 pandemic related economic package. Not only should products be ‘made in India’, but the promotion of those products should take place so as to make those products competitive.  We should appreciate our local products, if we don’t do this then our products will not get the opportunity to do better and will not get encouraged. The agriculture and biodiversity sector were also given a lot of importance in it. This scheme helps farmers by providing better financial help, good prices of crops and a lot of new schemes are introduced which will help to support farmers and other people who are dependent on the agricultural sector for their livelihood. The improvement in PDS (Public Distribution System) has also started. Sustainable fishing practices and organic farming practices are encouraged, beekeeping shelters are increased and Rs 1500 crore is specified for animal husbandry. Many medicinal herbs are to be grown by the shore of river Ganga. Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, D V Sadananda Goda, in September 2020, said that “India will be self-reliant in fertiliser production by 2023”. Three Farm Bills passed in September 2020 provide the legal framework to give the farmers the right to choose the price and people to whom they want to sell. Coir Udyami Yojana aims to develop the coir-related industry’s sustainable development.

Role of Agriculture and Biodiversity

From my point of view, the making of New India does not mean cutting the forests to make big buildings, industries or exploiting the natural resources without limit. When I think about a new Bharat, I imagine a country with minimum degradation of natural resources while still sustaining the agricultural demand of our country. 

Important focus on agricultural exports should also be given so as to improve the quality of exports rather than just quantity, thereby fetching more price for the farmer. Exports of medicinal herbs and oils, agricultural produce and raw materials like cotton and jute will increase drastically; also aiding the economy. Correspondingly, many people will start to prefer Indian exported products.

Great biodiversity will help to maintain ecological balance for ecosystem stability and support ecotourism. We can use resources and conserve them due to eco-friendly practices in farming, fishing, etc. 

At school level, a new subject – Agriculture should be introduced with hands-on experience and interaction with farmers. This will inspire many students to study agriculture and forestry streams. 

I think that biodiversity and agricultural prosperity will highly assist in the making of New India. Our new Bharat will be more sustainable and more developed. India will promote eco friendly practices, biodiversity, organic farming, quality produce and build a strong economy. From a developing country, it will turn into a super-power.

Learning from Ancient Agriculture in India

Our earth can no longer tolerate pesticides and fertilizers, because of the ever increasing demand of food, we must return back to our basics – using age old agricultural practices with the help of modern technology.

The evidence of agriculture practice in India dates back to 9000 BC. The domestication of plants and animals was also reported around this time. Wheat, barley and jujube were among crops, sheep and goats were among animals that were domesticated. This period also saw the first domestication of the elephants. Agricultural communities became widespread in Kashmir valley around 5000 BC. It was reported that Cotton was cultivated by 5000 – 4000 BC in Kashmir. As early as 4530 BC and 5440 BC wild Oryza rice appeared in the Belan and Ganges valley regions of northern India. Agricultural activity during the second millennium BC included rice cultivation in the Kashmir and Harappan regions.  Agriculture was far from the dominant mode of support for human societies, but those who adopted it flourished.

Why should we return to ancient practices? 

Excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides to increase crop production has augmented the deterioration in quality of the yield. Using chemicals in farming destroys natural resources, and wastes a lot of water because it causes soil degradation and soil to become salty. The chemicals are washed from soil into water and also cause water pollution along with soil pollution. Due to the process of biological magnification, the chemicals are being accumulated in our bodies. Due to the above reasons we need to switch to sustainable methods of farming like organic farming.

Ancient practices that can help farmers

  1. Water harvesting should be adopted by farmers. This will irrigate their fields and the water can also be used for domestic use in the farmer’s house. This also will decrease the farmers dependence on borewells and tubewells and thereby save water. The Harappan farmers used to harvest the rainwater.
  1. Trees should be grown along with the crops. It increases biodiversity in the farm and also may be used as an income source. By planting a neem tree in a field, a farmer can sell its leaves and small branches. Also, birds will visit it and eat the pests from crops. Growing trees of medicinal value will help to cure an ill member of the farmers family. 
  1.  The farmers should grow crops with only traditional seeds. HYV seeds (High Yield Variety seeds) appear to be good for a short course of time; but in the long run, they decrease the groundwater table of the area and decrease the productivity of soil.
  1. Manure is a cost effective and an environment-friendly alternative of Fertilizer. Farmers should reintroduce the use of Jiwamrita which has been used for thousands of years in India. The only ingredients in this miracle fertilizer are cow dung, cow urine, evaporated cane juice or raw sugar and water.
  1. Mixed farming was the basis of the Indus valley economy. Indian farmers should also diversify their crops and grow at least two crops in  a year. This will aid in increasing the fertility of the soil.

These were a few ancient farming practices that can help a farmer to increase his income while saving water and energy; ultimately saving the world from food scarcity and pollution. 

HYDROPONICS

Hydroponics is a type of farming technique that uses water instead of soil to grow plants. By using this method we can save a lot of water. Hydroponic plants are planted in a inert media exposing their roots to nutrients rich solutions. Plants commonly grown hydroponically, on inert media, include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, lettuce and marijuana.

HYDROPONICS- REVOLUTION IN FARMING

HISTORY

The idea of growing terrestrial plants without soil was first published in the book Sylva Sylvarum or ‘A Natural History’ by Francis Bacon, in the year 1627. Growth of terrestrial plants without soil in mineral nutrient solutions was called solution culture. Later William Frederick Gericke created a sensation by growing tomato vines twenty-five feet (7.6 metres) high in his back yard in mineral nutrient solutions rather than soil and named it as hydroponics in 1937, proposed to him by W. A. Setchell, a phycologist with an extensive education in the classics.

The origins of hydroponics can be traced back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is the first known example of soil-less growth of plants. This was around 600 BC. Later on, around 1100 BC, the Aztec Indians got creative with their growing techniques and created gardens that seemed to be floating. These “floating gardens” were called ‘chinampas’, which had a strong combination of roots and lashes, laden with sediment from lake-bottoms, providing nutrients to the crops and plantations. Similar floating plantations were discovered by Marco Polo on his visit to China, which left him surprised as he hadn’t seen anything like this ever before. In the 1990s, NASA grew aeroponic bean seedlings in zero gravity aboard a space station, opening up the possibility of sustainable agriculture in space.

Picture from NASA

ADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS

• Hydroponics plants can be grown anywhere even in small rooms. Since the plants roots don’t have to expand in search of oxygen and water it can be grown much closer to each other. And instead of putting its energy in its roots growth it can invest its energy into the growth above ground. Through this we can save a lot of space and get higher growth.

• Many diseases are soil-born. And it effects the plant growth in soil based agriculture whereas in hydroponics since weeds, pests and plants diseases are highly reduced and less chemicals are used. It helps the plant to grow cleaner and get healthier foods.

• Hydroponics systems can be built indoors, so there is no need to adapt to outside climate.

• Here, one can grow each crop simultaneously all year round.

• Because of their very less water usage this can be done in countries which have scarcity of water.

• Many organisms depend on plants for their food which disturbs the plants growth whereas in hydroponics since no soil there is no organisms.

• Weeds which grows with plants in soil based agriculture takes up the nutrients from the soil making it hard for the plants to get adequate amount of nutrients. This case is not seen in hydroponics since no soil so no unwanted growth of plants.

DISADVANTAGES OF HYDROPONICS

• For a large-scale hydroponic system proper facilities are required and it is not cheap.
A large field where you can pour a tons of
water is cheaper than building large
greenhouses.

• If a disease occurs it spreads very fast in water as compared to that in soil.

• Expect knowledge is required in this field.

• Proper maintenance of the plants is required.

• Not all crops can be grown here. Some roots based vegetables like potatoes and carrots does better in soil.


Hydroponics is a revolutionary change in farming technique. If it is implemented with proper knowledge and constant monitoring it can yield to a better harvest. We can get healthier food and can save a lot of water. You can start doing it even in your home now. The thing is we have no idea about it. So let’s put our hands together for this new technique which can help us in our long run.

Agriculture : The Lone Survivor

Apart from the enormous consequence of coronavirus on the human life which claimed more than 1.75 million lives worldwide and infected more than 75 million people, COVID 19 also demolished economies around the globe. Amongst the most badly affected nation was India, which recorded more than 1 crore case and a lakhs deaths and counting. While this sounds bad, visuals of lakh and lakh of migrant workers waking back thousands and thousand of kilometers on foot made the situation worse. If this was not the end of misery Indian economy shrinks by 23.9 percentage point in the first quarter of FY 2020-21 lowest since independence. Every sector of economy from manufacturing to industries and even services tanked except one : Agriculture and allied services which recorded growth 3.4 percentage point at constant prices. Agriculture and allied services contributes nearly 16 % to country GDP while providing employment to 42 % of the workforces.

Several economical and agriculture expert had the views that had there been slummed in agriculture and allied services, things would have been much worse. Agriculture provided employment to the migrated worker who returned to there home and provided them with some earning in these apocalyptic times. Such was its importance and necessity that it was the first sectors to get relaxation from nationwide lockdown for manufacturing and transportation of agriculture input, seeds, machine, etc. Supply chains related to agriculture goods and services were allowed to function with protective measures in place. Efforts paid the dividend a sharp increase of 5.7% in area coverage of Kharif crops was registered as on September 2020. Amid good monsoon and adequate water storage in the winter reservoir for Rabi crops the Government of India set an all time high record for food production target of 301 million tons for 2020-21.

When the prime minister Modi announced nationwide lockdown, the immediate consequence was the mass exodus of migrant labourer from virtually every part of country to there rural household and faces an immediate risk of hunger and livelihood. So government announced a number of schemes for them. Government released an advance installment of Rs. 2000 from PM- KISAN scheme, wage rate of worker were increased and number of days of guarantee work was increased to 150 days under NAREGA. Under the economic stimulus package, credit support for small farmer were announce through various institution like NABARD was extending additional support of Rs. 30,000 crore for crop loan through RRB(Region Rural Bank) and other institutions. Nearly 25 lakhs new Kisan credit cards were sanctioned with a loan limit of Rs. 25000 at a minimal rate of interest were provided to not just farmer but also to one belonging fisheries, animal husbandries and agriculture allied services. The timely credit stimulus helped thousand of farmers and laborer to sustain themselves during such a tough times. A new scheme under the name of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana was launched to take care poor and vulnerable section of society. In order to boost the rural economy, Indian Railways launched Krishi Rail scheme for transportation and building a seamless supply chain of perishable product like milk, fruits, fish etc. It is benefitting farmer from all around the country as they will be able to sell there product all around the country.

In addition to the schemes and relaxation, good monsoon season and tremendous efforts of our farmers and workers help agriculture to stay afloat at a most delicate point in our economic history. These schemes and announcement might seems be rewarding but not a solution for a sector which is on a downward trend for quiet a few years and the news of suicides of farmer reported daily. There is a need for a comprehensive long term vision and policy with huge investment not just on agriculture and its subsidiaries but also on the farmer. When agriculture and its allied sector will grow at a great pace so will rural economies of our countries and in process increasing the income of farmers and laborer which in turn will increase the growth of our overall GDP.

MIXED FARMING, A VIABLE AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM

Mixed farming is a type of agriculture in which crop production is combined with the rearing of livestock. The livestock enterprises are complementary to crop production, so as to provide a balance and productive system of farming. Mixed farming may be treated as a special case of diversified farming. This particular combination of enterprises, support each other and add to the farmer’s profitability.

Farming is very intensive and sometimes highly specialized with one portion of the farm being devoted entirely to arable farming and the other portion entirely to livestock.

This system of farming predominates in regions with a dense and highly urbanized population. Mixed farming encompasses much of the eastern USA, Canada, Western Europe, northwestern USA, Central Mexico, southern Brazil, parts of pampas, Central Chile, and South Africa. From Western Europe, a belt of mixed farming extends eastward into the Asiatic Russia through the central part of the European Russia.

Even though this type of farming was first developed in Europe and later spread to Americas, it is gaining importance in the less developed countries of Asia and Africa as a viable agricultural system.

A variety of crops are grown in the mixed farming region. Cereals dominate the crop land use, the leading grain vary with climate and soil. In the temperate regions wheat, maze and oats are the major crops with dairy cattle, sheep or pigs as animals. In tropical regions rice dominates in the humid regions with cattle and goats. Aquaculture and poultry is also integrated to it. In the drier parts jowar, bajra and ragi is integrated with cattle and goats.

Agriculture in India

Agricultural productivity depends on several factors.  These include the availability and quality of agricultural inputs such as land, water, seeds and fertilizers, access to agricultural credit and crop insurance, assurance of remunerative prices for agricultural produce, and storage and marketing infrastructure, among others. 

As of 2009-10, more than half of the total workforce (53%) of the country, were employed in agriculture. The share of population dependent on agriculture for its livelihood consists of landowners, tenant farmers who cultivate a piece of land, and agricultural labourers who are employed on these farms.  Agricultural output has been volatile over the past 10 years, with annual growth ranging from 8.6% in 2010-11, to -0.2% in 2014-15 and 0.8% in 2015-16.

The country’s requirement for food grains in order to provide for its population is estimated to be 300 million tonnes by 2025.The estimate of food grains production in 2015-16 is 252 million.  This implies that the crop output needs to grow at an annual average of 2%, which is close to the current growth trend.

Despite high levels of production, agricultural yield in India is lower than other large producing countries.  Agricultural yield is the quantity of a crop produced on one unit of land.  Agricultural yield of food grains has increased by more than four times since 1950-51, and was 2,070 kg/hectare in 2014-15.

Besides providing for the livelihood of farmers and labourers, the agricultural sector also addresses food security for the nation.  The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations defines food security as a situation where all people have, at all times, physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets the dietary needs and food preferences for a healthy and active life. Despite high levels of production in the country, 15% of the population continues to be under-nourished, as per 2014 estimates.

India enacted the National Food Security Act in 2013.  The 2013 Act aims to provide food and nutritional security to people by ensuring access to adequate amount of quality food at affordable prices. Under the 2013 Act, persons belonging to certain categories are provided with food grains (wheat, rice and coarse cereals) at subsidised prices.  As of 2015, 68% of the population, i.e. 81 crore persons (of which 77% are in rural areas and 23% in urban areas) are covered under the Act.

Over the past few decades, with increasing per capita income and access to a variety of food groups, the consumption pattern of food in the country has been changing.  Dependence on cereals for nutrition has decreased and the consumption of protein has increased. Sources of protein include pulses, meat, seafood, and eggs, among others.  According to report by the Finance Ministry, incentivising the production of pulses in the country, poor levels of nutrition suggest that increasing the consumption of proteins should be the policy priority for the government.  The report estimates that the cost of pulses as a source of protein is lower than other sources.  Under the current domestic scenario, India is facing a shortage of pulses which is being managed by increasing imports. Thus, the struggle to find a balance between economic growth and ensuring food security continues.

Biotechnology is underrated!

33 Best Masters Biotechnology Programs for Commercialization and ...

Everyday, we see advances in almost everything around us. Not just technological advancements but even in living organisms as they continue to evolve with time. From the smallest microorganisms to more complex human beings, every living thing is upgrading just to survive as the living conditions become harsher. After the Covid-19 outbreak, it can be certainly said that new infectious organisms are also on the rise somewhere, waiting for their turn to enter the human world. Species are becoming extinct at a much faster rate due to human interference, lack of benevolence, and greed. With these developments, the role of biotechnology has become more significant than ever.

Biotechnology is the modification and usage of living organisms for various purposes like agricultural, industrial, and healthcare. We know that microorganisms like yeast help us in making bread and Lactobacillus leads to curdling of milk and they have been there for a long time now but now we know that there are several other such living organisms that have the potential to make lives better. These organisms are capable of doing work that are more important than making a loaf of bread or a bowl of milk but the fact that they can save lives! Biotechnology isn’t even about only these organisms but also human beings in which genetic manipulation is definitely complicated but not impossible.

In the field of agriculture and animal husbandry, biotechnology has made it possible for farms to raise both disease resistant plants and animals that are also more resilient to changing environmental conditions. The population is growing rapidly and food shortage is a major concern. With the aid of biotechnology, it is possible to ensure that no man, woman or child goes to bed hungry through enhanced productivity of crops and animals that take up less space and resources. The new farming methods also need to be environmentally sustainable so as they are not burdensome on mother earth and nature. The practices and manipulation must not take the dignity of species that can’t even speak out their concerns, for granted and humanity and empathy must persist. 

The healthcare has also been benefited by introduction of more effective medications and drugs that are biotechnologically synthesised and pose lesser risks of contamination and side effects. Gene testing and manipulation has made it possible to diagnose, prevent and even cure diseases that are inheritable. Various substances like insulin that are synthesised by the body can also be synthesised using genetically modified organisms and can aid the people that are unable to synthesise them due to underlying medical conditions. Biotechnology can also be applied to industrial processes to manufacture products that are important for human beings. Not just that, renewable sources of energy can be generated using biotechnology and can replace fossil fuels in industries. The industrial waste can be treated using genetically modified organisms until the waste is not hazardous when it is released into the environment.

Biotechnology has innumerable applications and the fact that it is a comparatively new field, a lot of research still needs to be done and new techniques are yet to be discovered so a career in biotechnology is definitely a promising one.

Bickering Bollywood….

So we all know that Indian film industry aka Bollywood is the second highest movie producing industry in the whole world after Hollywood per annum. Well to be honest yeah i agree that Bollywood is a gold mine of vibrant,diverse and really amazing movies. But the question remains at the point as why such an old,powerful movie industry with actors like Shahrukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan who come in the list of top ten richest actors in the world, and with directors like Satyajit Ray are never producing movies which at least can be the bread and butter of the whole world. French and the German movie industry even the movie industry of Chile and the Korea is producing movies which garners massive popularity worldwide. In french we have ‘Belle de Jour(1967)’ and ‘blue is the warmest color (2013)’, German’s having ‘The Marriage of Maria Braun(1978)’ and ‘Freier fall (2013)’, chile’s ‘A fantstic woman (2017), the ripple maker Parasite(2019) and many more from many other countries as well. And then the question prevails why not Bollywood?

Movies like Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali (1955) and Mira Nair’s Salam Bombay (1988) in a manner defined Indian movie industry’s potential. But current scenario Bollywood is all about nepotism and love stories nowadays. As if we see that famous movie Slumdog Millionaire(2008) which bagged eight Oscars is not what india is?But the entire movie industry of the world is running after one thing that if India is represented it either poverty or god forbid it’s about curry, thanks to everywhere you see starting from movies like critically acclaimed Lion(2016) or Love Sonoa(2018) everything is about how indians are suffering,human trafficking, lack of sanitation and blah blah blah!!! If we talk about that’s what we see i the world. But people need to realize something that India the world’s second most populous country,sixth largest economy and seventh largest country is not all about trash and poverty. This scenario as explained above is what shows the failure of bollywood. but not everythings bad as we can’t say that Bollywood has gone down totally in these recent years as we made so many good movies too like Raazi(2018), Neerja(2016), Uri(2019), Barfi(2012) , Lust stories(2018) , Mary Kom(2014), three idiots(2009), Bajirao Mastani (2015), Jodha Akbar(2008), Dangal(2016), Devdas(2002), My name is Khan(2010), Swades(2004), English Vinglish(2012), Tumbaad(2018), lagaan(2001), Tare zameen par(2007), PK(2014) and many more which show case the value of the Indian movie industry and it’s potentials.

Now if we talk about problem which is wrecking us all starts with the lack of originality and the rejection of new talent in Indian film industry and how can we forget the grandad of all fiasco the one and only Nepotism. Nepotism is whats actually responsible for killing the Indian film industry in a really gruesome manner as due to this the new talents in indian film industry is getting choked as we speak. Another big problem is the lack of experimentation and really comical and absurd action movies as I’m literally starving for a good science fiction movie or a bone chilling horror fiction at least. But all we get is boring love stories with a lot of songs which are not even sung by the actors but they are just LIP SYNCING to it. No diversity at all as white washing of the whole cast is the forte of bollywood. Not even a single dusky or black actor or actress in a lead role you will find here(leaving the very few exceptions). That’s what i meant when i wrote bickering bollywood as if bollywood won’t up it’s ante there will soon be what we call a hot white mess left in the indian subcontinent for people to watch. Toodles!

“Minimum Support Price”

Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a kind of guarantee of a minimum price for the agricultural produce in India to purchase directly from the farmer. The price of msp is set and announced by Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain in the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) crops to protect the producers i.e. farmers.

Reason behind the idea of MSP is to counter price volatility of agricultural commodities due to the factors like variation in their supply, lack of market integration.

The CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, formed in 1965. It is a statutory body that submits separate reports recommending prices for Kharif and Rabi seasons.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) takes into account several factors while deciding the MSPs of Rabi and Kharif crops. These factors are;

1. A minimum of 50% as the margin over the cost of production.

2. Demand and supply.

3. Changes in input prices.

4. Input-output price parity.

5. Effect on the cost of living.

6. Effect on the general price level.

7. Trends in market prices.

8. Parity between prices paid and prices received by the farmers.

9. International price situation.

The minimum support price of 22 crops is declared by the the ‘Department of Agriculture and Co-operation, Government of India on the recommendations of CACP’.

The list of crops are as follows-

  • Cereals (7) – paddy, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize and ragi
  • Pulses (5) – gram, arhar/tur, moong, urad and lentil
  • Oilseeds (8) – groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soyabean, sunflower seed, sesamum, safflower seed and nigerseed
  • Raw cotton
  • Raw jute
  • Copra
  • De-husked coconut
  • Sugarcane (Fair and remunerative price)
  • Virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco

The Minimum Support Prices for all mandated crops is increased by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on June 1, 2020.

MSP comes out to be major relief for farmers in case of distress sale and procure food grains for public distribution.

How Agri-tech startups can help farmers?

Farmers are facing a bad time in this pandemic. As per IBEF(Indian Brand Equity Foundation) more than 58% of India’s population is dependent on agriculture for livelihood. The reverse migration of migrants due to covid-19 will also lead to more people being dependent on agriculture as a source of income. The government has come up with some reforms that can help farmers. Now, the question is whether agri-tech startups become a ray of hope for farmers and make their lives better.

Farmers have long been exploited by the present system of APMC. They have earned less due to the presence of middlemen. Thus, farmers are left with fewer returns. Farmers require more than policies and this where agri-tech startups come to their rescue.

Ways in which agri-tech startups can help farmers

Removing middlemen

The major problem that farmers face is of middlemen. This increases the cost per transaction which is mostly 2-3% in case of offline transactions. However, this cost can be upto 0.5% in case of online transactions. This is the same as online stock market investments, where people used to pay a lot per transaction before startups like Zerodha came into the market. The result of this reduction in cost is more profit in the hands of farmers.

Health of Crop

India loses around 30-35% crop due to pests. Also, attacks by insects is a major threat to farmers. The recent attack by locusts have created fear among many farmers. Agri-tech apps can help a lot in such situations. They can help in monitoring the health of crops with the help of AI. One such startup is Plantix which is a Hyderabad and Berlin-based startup. It helps farmers to identify plant diseases, pests and nutrient deficiencies. This is done with the help of AI.

Increasing crop productivity with the help of data

Agri-tech startups can store data and measure the performance of crops. With the data, farmers can identify in which conditions the crop yielding is good. These apps can study the history of land and also comment about the fertility of the soil. This data can also be used by other companies who produce agri based products and can lead to newer developments.

Easy availability of finance

The farmers have faced a lot of problems because of non-availability of finance from banks. This led them to borrow money from unorganised sectors at very huge costs. With these apps, the farmers can maintain their data regarding stock sold and inventory. This will help banks in monitoring their performance and thus banks will be more willing to provide money to farmers.

Challenges that can be faced by agri-tech startups

These startups can definitely help farmers but there are some challenges in their way. Their growth depends on the following factors:

  • Support from government.
  • Faster data penetration.
  • Strong financial support from private investors.

These are some of the technical and legal challenges that these startups may face. Apart from these challenges, the acceptance of these apps by farmers is also a challenge. As many farmers are not tech savy, these startups will have to make farmers comfortable with technology. Even with these challenges, agri-tech startups are likely to change the life of farmers.