Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Ludhiana, February 28:------

A 4-day post-Rabi season workshop organized in the Department of Economics and Sociology was inaugurated by Dr. Manjit Singh Kang, Vice-Chancellor, PAU today. In his remarks Dr Kang said that agriculture in India has made spectacular progress during the last four decades adding that in this direction farm scientists, extension agencies and farmers played an important role in the transfer and adoption of production technologies, thus making the country self sufficient in food grains. He, however, said that since the nineties, the farmers are facing new challenges due to globalization of agriculture and new international trading regimes of agricultural commodities under the WTO. Thus, agricultural development functionaries need to play a major role to build the capacity of the farmers to meet the emerging challenges and make the farmers realize better prices of their farm produce. The focus of the extension functionaries need to be extended beyond production led approach to market led approach, said Dr Kang adding that farmers should be sensitized on quality, consumer\'s preference, market intelligence, processing and value addition and other marketing information. Dr Kang said that market information and intelligence are vital for enabling farmers and traders to make informed decisions about what to grow, when to harvest, to which market the produce should be sent and whether to store it or not. \'Market intelligence allows the farmer to remain competitive by improving his strategic decisions and this leads to better performance against competitors\', observed Dr Kang. He appreciated that under the project, \'Establishing and networking of agricultural market intelligence centers (AMIC) in India under national agricultural innovative project (NAIP), PAU is providing price forecast for sowing of major crops and during harvesting to help farmers. He said that the component of market intelligence needs to be given due focus while formulating project plans.

Dr. J.S. Sidhu, In charge of the Agricultural Marketing Information Centre (AMIC) at PAU said that participants from 11 State Agricultural Universities are participating in the deliberations on the activities carried out in their respective AMIC Centres.

Dr. N. Ajjan of Center for Agricultural Research and Development shared information on market intelligence that he said should include pest and disease prediction as well as weather forecasting. Dr. Ajjan suggested that the mobile connectivity should be made available to farmers where through the market information centers should communicate the relevant information.

Dr. Raveendran, Incharge of the project said that the marketing information is vital for contemporary agriculture in India. He shared that information on marketing has an impact on the success of diversification of agriculture as farmers will go on to a cropping system if it is remunerative in the market. He highlighted that less than 1% attention is given to marketing component as more than 99% focus is received in the production in all the plans. He emphasized that research and development budget must be increased for marketing. Dr. Raveendran said that agricultural marketing is quite integrated in the country as the price rise in onion in the area round Nasik had its impact in rest of the southern India. He said that in the cast of Basmati rice the price has its reflection in all over the country and on export also. He appreciated the working of AMIC at PAU saying that it is not operational in several states. The agricultural programmes have to be made market oriented, he said. When prices rise extra ordinarily, there is hue and cry but when prices crash no body bothers about the farmers, he observed.

Dr. Sidhu highlighted that during the workshop the progress made in different centers will be reviewed and future plans will be discussed. Sharing about the AMIC at PAU, he said that it was established under the National Agricultural Innovation Project (NAIP) of the World Bank with a mandate of fore-casting price of commodities before the sowing and during harvesting of 10 major crops. The major objective of the NAIP project is establishing and networking of agri-marketing intelligence centers in India with a lead centre at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

He said that in all four (two pre-season and two post-season) workshops are organized for Rabi and Kharif crops. Dr. Sidhu said that the market information generated from the analyses is delivered through electronic and print media with the involvement of PAU Center for Communication and International Linkages and is of great use to farmers for taking decisions regarding sowing as well as marketing of their produce. The Dean, College of Basic Sciences and Humanities, Dr. R.S.Sidhu while proposing vote of thanks said that under the project, the major components namely price forecasting, capacity building and information dissemination are taken care of. He said that the project is serving a useful role for the farmers and should continue on a long term basis.
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