Thursday, 30 October 2014

Gramin Krishi Mausam Sewa (Agromet Advisory Services);October30,2014 ,Thursday

The venue was Met Centre ,Lucknow ,located  near Amausi airport ,Lucknow.On October 30,2014 (Thursday),I chaired a state level  review meeting in Agromet Advisory Services , organised by Met Centre ,Lucknow.Dr KK Singh c from  Agromet Division,IMD , new Delhi .Prof Padmakar Tripathy  from Agriculture University,Faizabad andSri J P Gupta ,In charge , Lucknow Met Centre  shared the dais.
  Agromet advisory services play an important role in agriculture.Started in April , 2007 , it was meant to help the farmers to adapt to changes in the weather and climate , and for better and more efficient management of inputs.We need focus on the following aspects:
1.To create information generation(agricultural and meteorological) mechanism.
2.To create dissemination,extension  and communication mechanism (for farmers)
3.Capacity building ,effective training , education on all aspects of agromet.
4.To develop linkages between District Agriculture Officers and AMFU's for effective dissemination at district , block and village levels.
5.To organize seminars by AFMUs to create awareness among farmers about advisory services.
6.To use Common Service Centres of IT ,to provide agromet services.
7.To make agromet advisory services more user oriented in
a)pesticide and fertiliser applications.
b)irrigation applications.
c)sowing operations.
d)Timely harvesting.
8.To use more GIS and remote sensing techniques in preparation of agromet services.
9.To establish agromet data centre.
10.There are 130 AMFUs in the country and out of these,seven are in UP
There is a need for more AFMUs.
11.There is also a need to extend agromet advisory services to district level , block level and village level .

Agromet advisory services involve agriculture,metreolgy,extension and communication .Communication needs to be improved through IT,internet ,SMS and social networking .There is an ungent need to bring agromet services into the mainstream of our agriculture development schemes and plans.
              It was a very pleasant and  useful experience for me , as Agriculture Production Commissioner of UP , to be a part of these deliberations.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Training Workshop of Potato farmers of UP at Kannauj by Experts from Netherlands(October 27,2014)

On October27,2014(Monday),University of agriculture and technology , Kanpur  , Department of Horticulture and Food Processing ,Government of UP,in association with Netherlands Food Technology Centre(NAFTC)  organized  the inaugural session of  two days training workshop for the Potato farmers of UP.Sri Akhilesh Yadav, Chief Minister of UP was the chief guest for the inaugural session ..Two cabinet ministers of UP , one minister of state  were also present.Prof(Dr.) Anton Haverkort of Wageningen University and Research Centre, Netherlands and Mr. Marijn Leijien , Director Naftc were the guests of honour.I was present as Agriculture Production Commissioner of UP .The Vice Chancellor of University of agriculture and technology , Kanpur, Prof Munna Singh   was the chief organizer .DG , UP Council of Agriculture Research , Prof Rajendra Kumar  was also present , along with a galaxy of  experts , senior officers , media persons and  a large number of farmers.The session was truly  impressive and very unique.
                                    India  is the second largest producer of potatoes , after China.China produces 23.3% of global production while India produces 12.2%  and Russian Federation produces 8%.(Figures differ from year to year , and sin some years , India has been at third place).UP is the biggest producer of potatoes in India, producing about 39% of India's production.The area under potatoes in UP is 5.70 Lac hectares,the production is 120 lakh tons and the storage capacity is 120 lakh Metric Tons.But ,India and UP lag behind in productivity of potatoes..While productivity of potatoes in Netherlands is 46.3 MT per hectare,it is 44.8 MT/hectare in Germany .In india , productivity is 22.76 MT per hectare.The productivity in India is less than half of productivity  in Netherlands.
                            A memorandum of understanding(MOU) was signed between University of Agriculture and technology , and NAFTC on September20,2014.The broad areas of cooperation include:
1Technology transfer.
2.Yield enhancement.
3.Seed production and certification.
4.Variety development.
5.Infrastructure Up gradation .
6.Training and capacity building of farmers.
    Other areas of cooperation for future will be:
1.Energy efficient storage.
2.Processing and investment in processing.
In this direction,two significant policy decisions were UP Potato Development Policy ,2013 and UP Food Processing Industry Policy ,2012.
         In this two day training programme, 300 potato  farmers of 11 districts of 3 divisions of Kanpur,Agra and Aligarh are participating.There are about 20  scientists of University of Agriculture and technology ,who are also participating.The four objectives of the programme are:
1.Pre-sowing preparation.
2.Management of storage diseases.
3.Information about latest seed varieties.
4.Field training of farmers in village Niwazipur.
                        In my administrative experience of 34 years , this was the first occasion when a world renowned expert from a famous university was  training the   potato farmers of Uttar Pradesh directly.Breaking the barriers of language , race and nationality,Uttar Pradesh government took the bold step of spreading the latest  knowledge ,science and technology to the poor  farmers.This made all of us feel proud.I requested the farmers to raise their doubts and questions before the experts and satisfy themselves .We provided translators who translated the talk in Hindi.
                     I witnessed the transformation taking place before my eyes.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Conference on Mainstreaming of Disaster Risk Reduction(DRR) and Climate Change Adaptation in Development Policies and Practices(October20,2014)in Lucknow

I attended this conference on Disaster Risk reduction and Climate Change Adaptation in development policies and practices , as  chief guest .The conference  was organised on October20,2014(Monday) in Lucknow by UP State Disaster Management Authority in association with Unicef,National Institute of Disaster Management,Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group,ISET,All india Disaster Mitigation Institute.The dignatories on the dias included Ms. Nilofar Porzande, Dr. Anil K Gupta,Sri Mihir Bhatt, DR Shiraz  Wajih,Smt Leena Johri  ,and Sri Suresh Chandra, Principal Secretary (Revenue),UP.Here below is what I spoke.:
                     Imagine that you are in front of a  marginal farmer.He depends on rain for irrigation.And the rainfall is deficient in June and July.He waits for rains.Met department gives a weekly bulletin saying that rain deficit is likely  in certain districts.But the farmer is not sure.One day,it rains, and the farmer sows his paddy crop.But then it stops raining.There is a drought.The state government notifies the district as drought affected.A memorandum for Government of India is prepared for assistance.A team comes from Government of India and wants complete data for each district in detail.Banks wait for state government notification for rescheduling  crop loans.Insurance companies wait for post harvest yield data , to settle insurance claims.The department of agriculture advises the farmer to sow oilseed crop like Toria.But the farmer has no money.But this is our system .We give him advice , ideas and techniques , but no timely resources.How do we reduce risk reduction from drought ,for this farmer How do we make our development plans and programmes sustainable and having reduced disaster risk? .
                              What is mainstreaming?It is integration of DRR and CCA into the development planning,policies and practices.But in addition ,we need to see whether DRR and CCA can be integrated.We are all familiar with Disaster Risk Reduction.But we need to understand  the climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.Even if greenhouse gases emissions is dramatically  decreased,climate change adaptation will still be needed.There is a difference in the risks caused by disasters and the risks caused by climate change.The climate change  risks differ in intensity , frequency and have no previous experience.There are some common areas between DRR and CCA .These are risk assessment,flood management and building code enforcement.The non-overlap areas include Earthquakes for DRR  ,and agriculture and trade policy initiatives for CCA.But still ,there is a case for integration between DRR and CCA. We need legislation for mainstreaming.Section 39 of National Disaster Management Act2005 is the legal provision for mainstreaming of DRR.But there are no such legal provisions for climate change mitigation or adaptation.   
                        Mainstreaming of CCA has additional difficulties;
1.NO data is available.
2.No international guidance is available.
3.There are additional risks like raising heights of sea defences.
4.Huge funds requirement.
Departments which need to pay attention to mainstreaming are Agriculture,Water Resources,Health,Education,Land use ,Rural Development,Energy , Housing and habitat development.
Mainstreaming is required not only for government departments but also for all stakeholders like  Private sector,NGOs,Universities,International Agencies, International financial Institutions , and community.
      In UP , we have seven missions on climate change .We have Strategic Knowledge Mission ,Solar,Energy Efficiency Mission ,Green UP, Sustainable Habitat Mission ,Water Mission , and Agriculture Mission  .In all seven missions on climate change.We have prepared climate change action plan,which will , to some extent help in mainstreaming of CCA.We are in the process of creating a climate change authority.But these are just initial steps.          
                                           There are barriers  and challenges to mainstreaming.These are:
1.A culture of working in silos.
2.Bureaucratic organisational processes.
3.Lack of capacity and knowledge in departments.
4.High staff turnover.
5.Ineffective procedures for retaining organisational memory.
6.Mainstreaming fatigue.Any addition to current work load is perceived as negative.
7.Formal mechanisms for linking DRR and CCA  and development are rudimentary.
                Two main steps in mainstreaming are:
1.Awareness Raising.This includes vulnerability damage assessment, and budgetary impact on disasters.
2.Creating an enabling environment .This includes DRR and CCA stategy formulation,Legislation.building institutional arrangements and capacity through political leadership,combined legislation, single ministerial responsibility ,intragovernmental horizontal and vertical integration.
     We are at the initial stages on mainstreaming , but as AL Gore said in The Inconvenient Truth:
1.Global climate crisis is real and near.We must not deny it.
2.It is a long battle.We must not feel helpless.
Mainstreaming adds value to our efforts.Let us make more and continuous efforts for mainstreaming,both by creating awareness and by creating enabling environment.
                     Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group has created a   pioneering  and important document on mainstreaming of DRR , CCA and development at district level.We need to create a similar document at state level.My compliments to UP State Disaster Management Authority and all other organisers for organising such a wonderful conference.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Conference on Rabi Crops in Lucknow(October10,2014,Friday)

Today (October10,2014,Friday),I chaired a session on Strategy for increasing production and productivity of Rabi crops in Uttar Pradesh.It was organized by Director of agriculture , UP in Krishi Bhawan in Lucknow , with Minister of  state for agriculture , UP , Sri R K Singh as chief guest.A large number of farmers, from all over the state  attended the conference , as also almost all the officers of agriculture department from all  the districts  UP.The  farmers were very vocal on the issues like inadequate supply of Potato seeds , late  running of canals and insufficient supply of electricity in rural areas.The session was very thought provoking , and kept my adrenaline levels high.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Closure Ceremony of Wildlife Week,2014(October7,2014;Tuesday) in Lucknow , India

It was a very pleasant event , organized by the Forest department of UP, India in Lucknow.
The  Chief Minister of UP , Sri Akhilesh Yadav was  in chair, accompanied with Cabinet Minister Sri Rajendra Chaudhari, Minister of State for Wildlife , Dr S P Yadav , and Minister of State for Forests and Youth Welfare , Sri Kidwai  The event was held in Lucknow at Official Residence of the CM .I was present there as Principal Secretary , Forests and Environment, UP.The CM  flagged off and dedicated the environment friendly Toy Train in Kanpur Zoo , through Video broadcasting,from Lucknow.There was a thunderous applause , both in the Hall at Lucknow and at Zoo in Kanpur.
                     Kanpur Zoo was conceived in 1971 but the citizens  had to wait for 43 years to witness the setting up of toy train in the Zoo.This train is a green train.The original alignment envisaged the felling of 600 trees , but the alignment was changed in such a way that not even a single tree was felled.The train is battery operated and is pollution free.Built at a cost of 12.18 crore rupees by UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam ,it has a capacity to seat 84 persons , and has a track length of 2.18 Kms.
                        Today, wildlife population is declining at a fast rate.Between 1970  and 2010,the wildlife population of the world declined by 52%.On the other hand , human population has increased by 75% from 400 crores to 700 crores.This indicates a severe and growing ecological imbalance.We need to stop this trend.On this day , each one of us should  resolve that from now on , we shall endeavour everyday  to work for conservation of wild animals.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Inauguration of Wildlife Week ,2014(October1 to October 7,2014)

On October1,2014(Wednesday), the forest department of government of Uttar Pradesh  began the celebration of Wlidlife Week  .The event was held in Lucknow .The Keynote  speaker was Dr Sejal Bora from WWF , India .The two Ministers of state ,UP,Dr S P Yadav  and Sri Kidwai , were the Chairman and Chief guest respectively.I was present as Principal Secretary , Forests and Environment ,UP. The audience  comprised forest officials , NGOs, Students and media persons.Here is briefly , what I spoke.:
 Wildlife is an international resource and has environmental and economic consequences.Further there is a balance of species in each Eco-system.Both the absolute numbers as well as the balance needs to be maintained in a sustainable manner.But wildlife population is sadly declining .For example , there were about 100 thousand tigers in the world in 1900 , and in about 100 years , their number has declined to mere 3000.(3%).The wildlife population is declining.Between 1970 and 2010,the world wildlife populations fell by 52%, overall.Not only that ,rate of population decline is increasing every year(WWF,Geneva).This is a matter of grave concern.
                          Seven factors have been identified as threats to wildlife.These are:
1.Exploitation through hunting , fishing and poaching:37%
2.Habitat degradation, fragmentation: ......................   :31.4%
3.Habitat loss , destruction          ..                           ...  .13.4%
4.Climate change     . ...................................................  7.1%
5.Invasive Species .. .................................................... ..5.1%
6. Pollution . . .                                         .................... ..4.0%
7 .Diseases  . ... .............................................................. 2.0%
                                                     Total . .. .. ..................100%
Ecological footprints or consumption and wastage of resources , country wise as a percentage of global footprints are as below:
2.USA :13.7%
3.India: 7.1%
4.Russia :3.7%
5.Brazil :3.7%
6.Rest of the world:52.8%
 We need to have  multipronged strategy ,to ensure conservation of wild animals:
1.Develop sustainably ,in harmony with nature.
2.Enforce Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
3.Adopt sound wildlife management of reserves,sanctuaries and National Parks.
4.Have special projects like Project Tiger, Project Elephant , related to endangered species.
5.We need to protect our wetlands.
6.To control global trade in wildlife ,we have signed Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES).We need to enforce its provisions.We need to enforce anti-poaching measures.
7.We need to develop awareness through Eco-tourism and other events.We need to implement Eco-tourism policy.We need to upgrade  green infrastructure in places which are important from Eco-tourism viewpoint.
8.We need to financially assist the families whose members were killed or wounded by wild animals.We need to also assist them if their crops are damaged by wild animals.The idea is to make them less hostile towards wild animals.
9.We need to prevent illicit felling of trees from forests.
10.We need to regulate indiscriminate exploitation of ground water.
11.We must control pollution.
12.We need to employ scientific methods and technology in conducting census of wild animals.
13.We need to identify, study and catalogues all animal species.
14.To track and capture wild animals which stray into human settlements,we need to use more and more equipment and technology , and train officials in their use.
15.Scientific and modern  management of Zoos and safaris as per internationally accepted management practices.
16.We need to train and orient our forest officials and also the community in wildlife conservation.
                              In Uttar Pradesh , state government  initiated action on most of these  points.We have declared Pilibhit as a Tiger Reserve, which to my mind , is an important decision of international importance.The financial assistance in Uttar Pradesh, given to families , whose member is wounded or killed by wild animals , or whose crop is damaged , is the highest in India.
        Let us take a pledge to conserve  wildlife on this planet.