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10   AgriTech indiA  September 2018                                                                                                 Article


          Measure of success                                                     the dollar value of market   Kerala varsity aims to
                                                                                 capitalisation?
          should Go beyond GdP                                                   Agriculture as game-changer  revive agri sector

                                                                                    Agriculture is a great
           Increased share of agriculture to GDP, for instance, does not         livelihood provider. While the
           necessarily mean that farmers will have a better tomorrow             service sector is showing signs
                                                                                 of stiffness in employment
                                                                                 and manufacturing is
          - Sathya Raghu V Mokkapati                                             increasingly getting
                                                                                 mechanised and automated,
                                                         Their overall well-being does   the sector which still has
                                                         not have any place in GDP. It   the potential to create jobs
                                                         would have been fine if GDP   is agriculture. While today,
                                                         were one of the indicators   the agriculture sector is
                                                         than being the ‘real’ and   largely underemployed and   he  Kerala  Agricultural   Such  a  situation  is  very
                                                         absolute indicator of growth.  inefficient, with the right   TUniversity  has  come  up   prominent  in  a  crop  like
                                                            While GDP is celebrated   practices, the same amount of   with  an  initiative  under  the   nutmeg,  which  has  been
                                                         so much, there’s also an   food can probably be grown   banner Nava Karshika Keralam   gaining  acceptance  among
                                                         ugly side. Increasing GDP of   with half the people working.  to revive the State’s agriculture   farmers   as   one   with   a
                                                         agriculture can happen with   But, by consciously   sector  and  instill  confidence   promising yield.
                                                         absolutely no increase in   developing rural enterprises,   among farmers, many of who   Devi  pointed  out  that
               nce again, GDP    the working population. This   the farmer’s income or their   nurturing them and   have lost everything.  the  crop  in  major  growing
               makes the maximum   keeps triggering debate about   well-being. If the amount of   celebrating their success, we   The  Varsity,  as  a  crisis   centres along the banks of the
          Onoise in the news     the need to reduce focus from   fertilisers and pesticides sold   can possibly gainfully employ   management  measure,  has   Chalakkudy River has already
          headlines. A back-series data   agriculture and to increase the   increases, GDP increases. If   more of the population in   released  an  advisory  on  crop   shown  symptoms  of  crop
          released last week showed   same on industry and service   the transport and logistics   agri-value-chain activities.   management  to  ensure  the   damage beyond cure.
          that GDP of India grew at   sectors, which gets reflected in   for agri-produce increase,      revival of all possible standing   The  KAU  is  undertaking
          double-digts during the   the Budget allocations too.  GDP increases. If the loans   It is imperative that small   crops.  comprehensive   studies   to
          UPA regime. The National   The narrative here is   given and interest earned   farmers get end-to-end   Towards  this  objective,  it   understand the changes in the
          Statistics Commission (NSC)   that GDP is the proxy of   by banks increase, GDP   support in farming and post-  has formed multi-disciplinary   health  of  agricultural  soil  in
          dismissed the same saying   progress. An increased share   increases. Do any of these   harvest management with   teams  of  scientists  to  interact   the aftermath of the floods.
          that methodology for back-  of agriculture to GDP does not   mean that there really is an   the right people and physical   with  farmers  in  the  flood
          casting GDP series has not   necessarily mean that farmers   improvement in the lives of   infrastructure backing them.   affected  areas  to  assess  crop   Disease threat
          yet been finalised and various   will have a better tomorrow.   farmers? Absolutely not. How   All this can happen when   and soil conditions.  Another  major  challenge
          alternative methods are being   But if farmers have increased   do we really get to celebrate   we measure our success   P  Indira  Devi,  Director   is  potentially  higher  levels  of
          explored.              disposable income, then the   true success: the well-being of   beyond GDP and market   of  Research,  KAU,  told  that   pest and disease incidence due
            As always, GDP is used   overall well-being of the   humans?         capitalisation.         the  damages  to  the  farming   to  high  humidity  and  water
          as the narrative to argue   planet can improve, given that                We need to revisit the   sector  were  going  to  affect   logging.
          how well the economy was   80 per cent of the small and   What should change?  way we measure success,   food security, the agricultural   In  the  rebuilding  process,
          handled. How appropriate is   marginal farmers across the   Can we start quantifying   progress and happiness   economy and ecological safety   the  university  has  initiated
          this narrative of measuring   world are poor.  and celebrating impact more   individually and how we   in the coming years.  steps to apply remote sensing
          the world from the lens of                     honestly? Can there be an   evaluate each at the country   The  soil  quality  loss  due   technology  to  assess  crop
          GDP?                   Shortfalls in GDP       index of organisations that   level. Prices can’t be proxy for   to  floods  is  to  be  assessed   damage.
                                    Rural India is much   impact the maximum number   everything. Inequality needs   based  on  test.  Though  floods   This   microwave-based
          Not the only measure   happier than urban India. The   of lives with employment   to be addressed. Well-being   are  believed  to  improve  soil   technology ensures precision at
            The Gross Domestic   degree of their contentment,   and livelihoods? In the era              structure  due  to  organic   20 x 20 m grid level, with high-
          Product (GDP) is celebrated   the amount of celebration,   of Artificial Intelligence and   should be prioritised. Carbon   matter  deposits,  there  are   resolution  images  ensuring  a
                                                                                 emissions should come down.
          worldwide. The International   the way they socialise and   Machine Learning where             reports  that  floods  also  cause   higher level of precision.
          Monetary Fund (IMF) recently   treat the entire village as a   people talk about how   This thinking impacts the   nutrient  leaching  (especially   For  this,  she  said  KAU
          reported that India continues   family can give great lessons   people can be replaced with   narratives that we build,   potash) and that there can be   plans to work with the Tamil
          to be the fastest growing   for those in urban areas. Does   machines, we certainly need   which in turn impacts our   an imbalance of secondary and   Nadu Agricultural University,
          economy, with expected   GDP capture this? No!  to find ways to measure this   actions.        micro nutrients.        employing  GIS  maps  from
          growth rate of 7.3 per cent   There might be two paddy   and celebrate those who focus                                 European satellite imagery.
          for the current year and 7.5   growing farmers, who help   on giving their fellow humans   The writer is co-founder and   Root damage  A  realistic  assessment
          per cent for the next. Indian   each other in their sowing   jobs.       the president of Kheyti, an agri-tech   The persistent flooding in   of   the   damage   makes
          agriculture contributes about   activity by lending free   Should the biggest   startup based in India.  the  uplands  restricts  aeration   restructuring   easier   and
          16 per cent to India’s GDP   labour, which is outside the   measure of success be the          in  the  soil,  thus  leading  to   facilitates   policy   decision
          by employing nearly half of   purview of GDP calculation.   livelihoods created rather than    root  damage  and  secondary   making on a scientific basis.
                                                                                                         infections.
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