Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
Need to cut time & cost b/w farm to fork
NewZNew (Chandigarh) : Calling for huge investment in upgrading rural infrastructure instead of subsidies, Dr Robert L Thompson, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, USA emphasised that “India, especially the northern states of Punjab, HP and Haryana should learn from USA that the governments should avoid subsidies and rather invest heavily in strengthening the rural infrastructure, build roads, bridges, establish efficient logistics, cold storage, supply chains and railways so as to link the farms with the domestic and international markets effectively.
While addressing the agro processing industry from the region at a session on Lessons for India in Agribusiness from USA organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and US Embassy, New Delhi at CII NR Headquarters in sector 31 A, he added that “Free and fast flow of farm produce from farm gate to final consumer is the key to improve farmers’ situation in the region. It is critical to strengthen supply chain linkages to reduce the time and costs from farm to fork in India”.
“To meet India’s future food requirements, it is critical that more and more public and private investments flow in R&D in Agriculture technologies, processes and agro biosciences on a sustainable and continuous basis so as to increase Agri productivity levels. We in USA followed the principle of subsidies and even higher purchase price for farmers to protect them, but it back fired, as the Govt would have huge supplies in its warehouses and only the large farmers would benefit and the smaller ones would just perish. Hence we have learnt that the best way to protect the farmers is to enhance the rural infrastructure, provide them education about latest technologies, direct transfers to low income farmers and access to basic amenities”, he added.
“Agriculture being a highly risky business, I firmly believe that the Farm Revenue Insurance is the best way to save the farmers from the devastating losses in case of poor crop. Even in case of abundant crop, farmers at times don’t get enough prices due to huge supplies. We in USA have ensured that farm families get at least an average income equal to or more than any other middleclass family. The crop can be insured on the basis of weather or zones. The private sector companies, farmers and the Govt can collaborate and give subsidies on costs and premium to farmers”, he informed.