TODAY -

Rural development process: Renovated approach a must

Dr BK Mukhopadhyay *



Time has been changing and this is the age of innovention [innovation + invention] where static approach is being replaced fast by the dynamic [fast and consistent] one.

It has been a fact that for years together a majority of the world’s farmers, particularly those located in tropical regions, depend for their food and income on multispecies agricultural systems [the cultivation of a variety of crops on a single piece of land].

Those systems, which are often without synthetic inputs and based on integrated management of local natural resources and, in many cases, on rational management of biodiversity, though theoretically offer numerous ecological advantages, yet calls for renewed thinking in as much as the days now are for simultaneous bunching and multi-tasking so that risk element is reduced to a considerable extent via bifurcating into various components leading to professional practises.

Mother Earth: The Real Source For All Sort Of Activities

In today’s business environment the target is to reap optimal benefits from land use alternatives – land being the scarce resource where competing crops / allied activities are there all targeting to have a greater share.

For optimally using the land, productivity factor coupled with nutrient-rich environmentally allowable productions has emerged to be the leading factor. In fact, the Integrated Rural Development System (IRDS) has revolutionized Conventional Farming of Livestock, Aquaculture, Horticulture, Agro-Industry and Allied activities in some countries, especially in tropical and subtropical regions that are not arid.

The IRDS possesses the inherent strength to remove constraints to a significant extent by not only solving most of the existing economic and even ecological problems, but also provide the needed means of production such as fuel, fertilizer and feed, besides increasing productivity many-fold. Inter-sectoral-resource-flow is thus bolstered.

Renovated Drive: A Must For NER

As a matter of fact, globally speaking, farming is not very performing unless relatively big inputs are added to sustain yields and very often compromise the economic viability as well as the ecological sustainability. It can turn all those existing age-old farming systems, especially in the poorest countries, into economically viable and ecologically balanced one that will not only alleviate poverty, but can even eradicate this source completely, resulting in the much-needed real rural develpment.

In the NER positive changes have been there but relatively at a slower pace. Investment flows are jacking up mainly due to larger involvement of the banks [public sector inclusive of the Regional Rural Banks and Cooperatives particularly]. Government schemes are gaining ground and subsidy-centric approach is being slowly replaced by market-oriented activity-diversification based approach.

The RBI and NABARD efforts as well as the activities of other development agencies [government and non-government] are accentuating the changing process to a satisfactory extent.

Various activities, hitherto least known or practised are making foray into the farming community. Those who added fish to the livestock-crop system are in the process of making a very big step forward, not only by increasing the fertilizer from the fish wastes, but also enhanced their income from the bigger and quicker yield of fish and their relatively high market prices. Cost effective quality conscious planning is also on though to a lesser extent.

Horticulture, apiculture, viticulture, pisciculture, duckery, piggery, poultry, agricultural machineries’ uses are steadily jacking up the drive for modernized farming practises. Processing the produce for preservation with value addition and spoilage minimization are contributing to overall benefits. Food processing sector is getting encouraged by the resource flow. Micro and small entrepreneurship is steadily gaining ground.

Injecting latest research findings [both in farm and non-farm sector] could have altered the situation to a large extent and labour absorbing capability could in that situation would surpass the labour-displacing factors.

Empowering rural population [that includes a large number of vulnerable groups, including women, indigenous peoples, fisher folk, member of low castes, and ethnic minorities], still remains a far cry. Women, as is well known [thanks to the African Proverb: without women we will go hungry] in particular are responsible for a vast majority of food production, household work, and care work – they are yet to be actively included in designing and implementing the programmes that will enhance the security of their livelihoods.

Poor Educational facilities and awareness on this score stand in the way of achieving gender equality and equity. These, in turn, blocked speed of the ongoing efforts directed towards mitigation of regional imbalances. Manpower wastage, marketing hindrances, inadequate availability of quality inputs and managerial ineffectiveness, among others, just go on adding to sectoral and spatial imbalances.

Regional peculiarities should have been given due weightage. Species of fish, crops and livestock to be raised will have to be selected on the basis of local conditions and requirements. Access to science and technology are also not included adequately in NER rural development strategies in order to improve the nutritional value of crops reduce production fluctuation and increase productivity on small-scale farms in a manner appropriate to the ecosystem in which they operate.

In Lieu Of Conclusion

Further innovations inclusive of drive for optimizing productivity, subject to environment constraint, is the crying need to push the interrelated farming system almost to perfection.

Then what about access to services and infrastructure that should be available throughout the economy (drinking water supply, sewage treatment, mail, telecommunications, transport, access to broadband in the field of IT and telecommunications)?

The quality of these services, however, differs from region to region. One field which urgently needs improvement is sewage treatment where, for economic reasons, the number of decentralised systems is growing. Furthermore, employment opportunities are not at all sufficiently available in rural regions – where are various long lasting assets generating measures to improve the situation?

In the overall sense: techno-economically and environmentally sound farm and non-farm activities, jointly, has the latent strength to turn the backward ‘depressed corridor’ into a developed region – ultimately helping to attain sustainable development. This has assumed to be of utmost importance in this part of the country since the scope for big industry remains a far cry.

Income and employment generation via this process if integration, in turn, could reduce the incidence of regional disparity, spatially, temporally, hierarchically and functionally.


* Dr BK Mukhopadhyay wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The Writer, a noted Management Economist, an International Commentator on Economic and Business Affairs, may be contacted at m(DOT)bibhas(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 15 March, 2019.



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