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Income of farmers in India can be increased substantially by changing cropping pattern: social activist


Washington, Jun 20 (PTI) The income of farmers in India can be increased substantially by changing the cropping pattern from grains to fruits, Mayank Gandhi, an Indian social activist has said.

Gandhi is the founder of the non-governmental organisation Global Vikas Trust, which aims at transforming the drought-hit villages of Marathwada, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, by working to increase the minimum income of farmers from the average of Rs 10,000 to over Rs 1 lakh per acre per annum.

“The Niti Aayog of India says that there will be a supply-demand gap of 42 per cent by 2030. We realised that by changing the cropping pattern from grains to fruits, the farmer’s income can be increased substantially. So, we are changing the cropping pattern, training the farmers, helping them market it,” Gandhi told PTI here.

On a three-city trip of New York, Washington DC and San Francisco, Gandhi along with industrialist Ravi Jhunjhunwala are meeting Indian Americans to raise awareness about their project in India which he says is helping the farmers in the poorest of the poor regions of the country by increasing their annual income multifold.

Gandhi said his mission was to increase the income of farmers.

“Typically, the kind of non-remunerative crops that the farmers are growing, I thought if we can change that and we help the farmers increase their incomes. And we have been able to do that. The income has increased 10 times. The income of Rs 38,700 per year is now Rs 3,93,000,” he claimed.

“So, if you think that the farmers of the country and where 65 per cent of the countries are farmers, if we were to increase their income by 10 times, then the economy of the country is going to boom.

To improve the environment, besides increasing the income of the farmers, “we planted 50 million trees. Once we plant trees, it will enhance their income. I keep on saying that the easiest, cheapest and fastest method of fighting the climate crisis, mass plantation of trees,” he said.

As a result of his work, Gandhi said the suicide of farmers in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra where once it was over 1,100 per annum has dropped substantially.

The group is now also working in Madhya Pradesh. “Right now we are working in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. We have made 27 clusters where we work…We don’t have the bandwidth or the ability to go all over the country,” he said.

“With this impact, everyone around the country wants us to go to their area. So, we have now made a centre of excellence, a world-class farmer training centre, where farmers from different parts of the country would come, learn how we have done this, and then replicate it in their area,” Gandhi said. PTI LKJ AMS AKJ AMS

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