What is wrong with our Agricultural research system?

our experiences 🙂 🙂 #MyStory

Apathy, vested interests, high egos, lack of scientific attitude and socio-economic/ecological concerns together at the top level have deteriorated the system. When ever these issues are raised either they raise the national food security card-saying feeding the millions is on their head or scientific card saying all what they dont understand is not science.

One of the main reason for initiating CSA was to build scientific understanding of several successful alternatives in agriculture and scale up to benefit people. In this process we had interacted with many top officials to share and discuss how things can improve…but we were always unsuccessful. looking at the recent controversy raised after the subash palekar’s comments wanted to share few incidents.

After the successful demonstration of Non Pesticidal Management in several villages we had a field visit organised to the scientists and extension staff to villages in kurnool districts to field area of the KVK. every one who visited said it was good but the Director Extension at that time said ‘No’ and they cannot promote it because it was not developed or researched by them. we argued saying many of the pesticides promoted by the university also are not developed and researched by the university…and why not they start research. he didnt agree on that.

Later we met the Director Research of the Agriculture University and discussed with him and requested to take up research and say what works and what is not working in the practices which are promoted as part of the NPM. for several years we followed up and always used to say i wrote to the research stations but no one is interested. later on he became the vice chancellor of the university. we met and discussed with him several times. nothing happend.

in 2007 (if i remember right) One senior official from world bank was interested in trying out an IT system to support farmers. we had a discussion in MANAGE. i proposed that it should be knowledge based and give several options to the farmers and not just the so called ‘recommendations’ by the university and we can evaluate what is more adopted by the farmers and then leave the choice to the farmers. The same director extension didnt agree then.

after 2010 we left chasing or discussing with university officials..and thought we should continue to do what we are doing and can reach out to people in our own way.

in 2013 (again if i remember right..i am bad with numbers and years) surprisingly i bumped into the same director extension who is retired and now promoting ‘chemical free’ chilli production. he is now into promotion of natural farming in a bigway… 🙂 🙂

the director research who never took any initiative to work on the alternatives inspite of repeated requests is now heading an education institution promoting ‘organic farming’..😉 🙂

i remember what Jairam Ramesh said during the Bt Brinjal Consultations i Hyderabad…while most of the farmers were opposing the commercialisation of bt brinjal, and NGOs were presenting their arguments about biosafety, monopoly, viable alternatives, the scientists of university and research stations were saying its a scientific advancement and should be promoted…and many retired scientists were saying we should be cautious and should put a break till biosafety is established and we exhaust all our existing alternatives. Jairam ramesh asked ‘how come wisdom dawns on indian agricultural scientists only after retirement?’

while i fully disagree with the attitude of subash palekar about agricultural science…is it not the time the agricultural scientists open their minds and look at world outside which is progressing beyond their labs with more open mind? be scientific in approach… science doesnt mean only chemicals…science doesnt mean what is developed in their four walls of research centres…its time you change other wise you become irrevalent

Just holding names not to disclose identities…this share is not to prove a point that they were wrong…it is to prove a point that they right but at a very late….its good that atleast they are now into alternative stream. things would have changed if they were so open minded while they were in service….its a request to all those agitated scientists to open up and see the value in agroecological approaches… you dont need to wait till the wisdom dawns on you after retirement. #MyStory