Farmers turning into entrepreneurs with help from Karnataka’s horticulture department

Farmers turning into entrepreneurs with help from Karnataka’s horticulture department

Farmers turning into entrepreneurs with help from Karnataka’s horticulture department
Image: ET

Bengaluru, India | Red Newswire | Dec 9, 2015 Last Updated at 02:03 PM IST.

The farmers’ suicide rate has touched the highest point in Karnataka’s history i.e., 800. Over this alarming situation, the government has launched an initiative that promotes cash-rich farming. This program links the poor farmers to the private companies dealing with agriculture produce. The state’s horticulture department is using the programme devised by United Progressive Alliance for integrated agriculture development. It plans to do this through the PPP-IAD (private-public partnerships) and thus turn farmers into horti-business entrepreneurs. This initiative will cover whole of the commercial crop sector with coconut being on the highest priority and pomegranate being the least priority. Rajeev Chawla, principal secretary of horticulture department said, “"We grow 40,000 hectares of potatoes in Karnataka. A tie-up with ITC (which manufactures Bingo) and Pepsi (Lays) can take care of our entire potato crop.” The state has lakhs of small farmers and has the third largest share of horticulture crop in India. The government wants to fix the 25% of the post-harvest losses to the farmers. The idea behind the programme is to come up with value additions that can be attached to the produce which will lead to high usage of the perishable items and so save farmers from the loss. This the govt. plans to do by introducing private intervention instead of just setting the minimum support prices. According to Chawla, the govt. sponsored HOPCOMS (purchases produce from farmers and sells directly to consumers) is able to cover only 3% of the huge 12,000 tonnes that is consumed by entire Bangalore city.

Source: ET Bureau