C. Vasudevappa, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, said on Saturday that mechanisation was the answer to most of the ills affecting agriculture in the country.
He was speaking after inaugurating a day-long farmers’ convention organised by the Udupi Zilla Krishik Sangha here.
Dr. Vasudevappa said most youngsters in rural areas were moving away from agriculture as they think it is not profitable. The number of people dependent on agriculture had come down from 80 per cent to about 55 per cent in the country. Even this was expected to go down further.
Small land holdings were unlikely to bring down the cost of agricultural operations. Since labour costs were going up, mechanisation would solve many of the problems, he said.
Most farmers were shifting from agricultural crops to horticultural crops due to fluctuation in prices of agricultural crops. Intensive cultivation methods should be used to make farming profitable. Instead of depending on one crop, farmers should take up mixed cropping, the VC said.
In Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts farmers were leaving paddy fields fallow because of increasing production costs. Instead, they should take up cooperative farming and use the fallow lands. Since the soil had some salinity in these coastal districts, they could improve the quality of soil through organic farming techniques, he said.
He said that instead of bemoaning the state of agriculture, farmers should become innovative, visit the Zonal Agriculture and Horticulture Research Station (ZAHRS) in Brahmavar and learn new farm techniques.
The University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences started a two-year diploma in Agriculture at the ZAHRS, Brahmavar, last year. Farmers should send their children for this course. This course would open new vistas of agriculture for them.
They could also try the new techniques learnt by the students on their fields and get lateral entry for degree course in agriculture, he said.Four farmers – Gopal Shetty, Shyamprasad Bhat, Joseph Kundar and Geeta Shetty Payyaru – were felicitated on the occasion. An exhibition of farm equipments was held at the venue, which attracted a large number of farmers.