Q: Pls do share the background and need to launch Project Utthan.
Technological upgradation & improvements in Indian agriculture have enabled a substantial increase in food grains production since the mid-sixties.
Farm mechanization in India stands at about 40%-45%, which is still low when compared to countries such as the U.S. (95%), Brazil (75%) and China (57%). While the level of mechanization lags behind other developed countries, it has seen strong growth through the last decade in India. The farm power availability has also grown from 1.47 kW/ha in 2005-06 to 2.02 kW/ha in the recent past.
Understanding the fragility& importance of the issues, THDC India Ltd. (THDCIL), under its CSR offshoot SEWA-THDC has undertaken this task and launched “Project Utthan” for the upgradation of Technology in this sector.
Q: How THDCIL is able to design this concept with target region and beneficiaries?
There are a number of reasons behind this, i.e. hilly topography, high transportation cost, lack of adequate state financing and other financial constraints due to socio-economic conditions and dearth of agricultural machinery manufacturing industries.
Keeping in view of this, THDCIL being a socially responsible organization, continuously strives to come up with innovative solutions for rural development and agriculture promotion activities through various interventions like providing poly-houses, high yielding seeds, vermin-compost pits, LDEP tanks, drip irrigation, sprinklers, rain water harvesting for irrigation, and Tech. counselling by our experts etc. .
One of the major intervention of THDC in promotion of sustainable agriculture in villages of Dist. TehriGarhwal, Uttarakhandviz, fragmentation of land holding, unaffordability of farm technology, a large presence of small & marginal farmers ; is by promoting custom hiring centres(CHC) / farm machinery banks to help easy farming, more produce, save time and check growing migration.
THDC Project Utthan: Farm Mechanization through Custom Hiring Centers, is based on the foundational belief that, agriculture mechanization is crucial for modernization and commercialization of agriculture as it improves productivity and timeliness of agriculture operations, aids in value addition, brings down the cost of cultivation and enables climate change adaptation. Various research papers and experts have vetted the fact that the promotion and modernization of custom hiring models and Agriculture Machinery Banks are steps in the right direction.
Q: Pls do tell us more about Custom Hiring Centres (CHSs).
Farmers practice indigenous and manual process for crop cultivation. They use labour oriented workflow for cultivation, all these process take much time and human resources, increasing the cost of cultivation. Change in climate conditions in last few years, also resulted in the rainfall available for only few days a year.
Q: How Govt. of India is involved for such interventions and how THDCIL is complimenting these initiative through CSR framework?
The government has also introduced several schemes and polices that support greater mechanization of Indian Agriculture, with respect to commitment to transform the agriculture sector and double farmers’ income by 2022-23 and Sub Mission on Agriculture Mechanization (SMAM) is an important initiative of the Govt. Focus on farm mechanization is driven by need for enhancing agriculture productivity, availability of food grains; increasing agriculture exports; mitigating labour shortage; and facilitating judicious use of scarce natural resources mainly water, labour and farm inputs. Keeping this in view, an ambitious target of increasing the availability of farm power from 2.02 kW per ha (2016-17) to 4.0 kW per ha by the end of 2030 has been set by Govt. of India.
Q: Pls do share your learning from the project and what has been achieved so far?
Farmers can hire the farm machines from Farmer institution at minimum cost collected for maintenance of the equipments. Every quarter, a team of SEWA-THDC, Agri. Deptt. and supplier rep. visits site & talk to self help groups (SHGs) to know actual feedback and take further action to act timely for its sustainability.
THDC has so far with above intervention created numerous farm equipment community assets with appx. worth of Rs. 320 Lakhs. The contribution to THDC in these assets through its CSR funds is nearly 20 % i.e. Rs. 64 Lakh, which will directly engage appx. 900 beneficiaries from 63 no. of villages in our first project area, TehriDistt. and 45 beneficiaries of 3 villages in Dist. Haridwar.
Q: How do you think , project Utthan is helping to achieve UN-SDGs.
Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 calls specifically to : “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.” Reaching the SGD targets simply will not be possible without a strong and sustainable agricultural sector. Rural people represent the largest segment of the poor India. Growth in agriculture is at least twice more effective in reducing poverty than any other sector as agriculture is an engine of pro-poor economic growth in rural areas. So I personally feel highly satisfied and excited to run this project successfully and contribute to growth of society, state & Nation.
Q: As a visionary leader and CSR head of THDC, what is your saying for other companies (Pvt or PSUs), working in CSR domain.
To provide after sale services in the field and to avoid damage of machinery due to unskilled labour there is a need to promote training of personnel at various levels and maintain minimum spares outlets at low cost spare parts which will reduce breakdown time & will also create additional rural jobs and increased yield.
My only suggestions is that, in order to enhance level of mechanization in agricultural operations more and more CSR funds should be channelized in this direction and the kind of resources Pvt. sector has, it will be highly encouraging to get them involved for such interventions to achieve another stage of green revolution and make our countrymen feel proud.