Ever since the World Trade Organisation (WTO)
rules and regulations came into force, agriculture products
from different European and Asian countries
have been dumped into the Indian market at cheaper rates.
These cheaper products are posing a threat to indigenously
produced agricultural commodities and products, making
our farmers helpless. How to counter this threat? And
how to get maximum benefits from the WTO regulations were
the main objectives of the National Agricultural Fair,
conducted by Acharya NG Ranga Agricultural University
1-4 March, 2001 at the university campus at Rajendra
Nagar in Hyderabad.
Vadde Shobhanadreeshwara Rao, Minister for Agriculture,
inaugurated the fair on 1st March 2001. In his inaugural
speech he said, "There is no reason to blame anybody
for the present situation. To benefit from the open world
markets, we have to join the WTO, otherwise our other
exports like Jute and Tobacco might be affected. We are
facing tough competition from other countries in food
grain sector. To counter this, we need to upgrade our
skills, minimise the production costs by embracing the
modern technologies in agriculture and other related fields.
To impart the knowledge of the modern techniques, the
government is planning to broadcast farm-related programmes
using the KU-band facility."
Yalamanchili Shivaji, Member, Agricultural University
Board, criticised the central government for neglecting
the agricultural sector, which is contributing about 50
per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But,
on the other hand, he supported the government on drawing
loans from the World Bank. "India is the
founder member of the World Bank and has every right to
take loans from the Bank," he said. Agricultural
Dr I V Subba Rao said, "The University decided
to conduct the Fair to provide proper guidance on the
modern and cost-effective agricultural practices and products
to the small and medium scale farmers. With these methods,
the production costs are minimised to compete with the
products dumped into our country with the WTO regulations,
which have cheaper prices."
accordance with the theme of the fair, there were more
than 100 stalls exhibiting modern farm implements, pesticides,
hybrid seeds, poultry, fisheries and dairy-related products.
Escorts Farm Equipment Division displayed an innovative
paddy harvesting machine called Crop Tiger.
The 'crop tiger' helps the farmers to reap the crop
even in the water logged fields. While the 'crop tiger'
is useful for large farms, there were a number of such
machines based on power tiller technology, useful for
small and medium farmers. Vishwakarma Industries
displayed Multicrop Thresher, useful for
paddy, maize and sunflower.Other agricultural machines
at the fair included Groundnut pods strimmer, paddy
row seeder, wetland leveller and silt-removing
India has a variety of breeds and genetic resources of
different plants in agriculture. By protecting and improving
these genetic resources, we can produce high yielding
varieties with lower cost. National Bureau of Plant
Genetic Resources advised the farmers to prepare their
own seeds with the help of agricultural departments to
overcome the WTO varieties. The winner of Jagjivan
Ram Kisan Puraskar and National Innovative Farmer,
Mr G Narasimha Raju Yadav, who produced 82 bags
of paddy per acre, participated in the Fair to share
his success secrets. He advised the visitors to use organic
manure and bio-fertilisers instead of chemical
dairy and fisheries have been closely associated
with the agriculture and complementing the incomes of
the farmers. The government organisations and various
departments in Agricultural University related to poultry
and dairy participated in the fair. Project Directorate
on Poultry, which takes up research on poultry, introduced
the Vanaraja variety of dual purpose bird
for rural and tribal areas. The animal husbandry farm
of the university, exhibited various types of high-yielding
varieties like Quail birds and Murra buffaloes.
On the whole, the big stall by AP Horticultural Department
was the cynosure of the fair with all varieties of
fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers. About 5,000 farmers
from Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Mahaboob Nagar, Nalgonda
and Medak visited the fair and clarified their
doubts with experts.