Sunday, January 27, 2008

Agri-Yatra completes sixteen days

The Agri Yatra has entered the second state Karnataka today.The yatra has now completed sixteen days.In these days the Yatra has recieved excellent response from the local people, media nad most important the farmers...

This is an article published in Deccan Herald today by its News Service in Bangalore.

Reserve 50 per cent land for agriculture
DH News Service, Bangalore

Padmashree Dr Anil Prakash Joshi from Uttaranchal, is on a bicycle yatra from Kanyakumari to New Delhi to highlight the plight of farmers in a supposedly agrarian country.

Almost 50 per cent of the agricultural land alongside the highway between Kanyakumari and Hosur has been sold out to the industrialists. This fact was revealed by Padmashree Dr Anil Prakash Joshi from Uttaranchal, who is now on a bicycle yatra from Kanyakumari to New Delhi.Dr Joshi and his team of 11 people were in Bangalore on Saturday. They had started their journey on January 12 to reach New Delhi on March 11. The main objective of the cycle yatra is to highlight the plight of farmers in a supposedly agrarian country.A botany professor-turned-agriculture activist, Dr Joshi shared his experiences with the Deccan Herald. He had lots to talk about his 750 kilometres journey from Kanyakumari to Bangalore with his team that comprised of 10 more people from the Himalayan region including three girls.


Mr Joshi and his team had 44 meetings with farmers at different places, where they interacted with around 2,000 peasants. They discovered that the land use change was on a massive scale, from agriculture to industrial purposes. Even farmers’ children were not ready to opt for agriculture as their profession.“We found that 98 per cent of farmers’ children are not ready to tread the path of their fathers. They opine that it is not a viable option. The peasants of Tamil Nadu say that there is no respect for the farmers in the State ,” said Dr Joshi.He found that those who fed the nation had to rely on very low calorie food, while those involved in non-agriculture professions had high calorie intake. The country’s agriculture productivity, he noted, was declining due to wrong policies and unecological approach to farming.

Demanding that 50 percent of the land be reserved for agriculture, he expressed concern over the reduced contribution by the agriculture sector to the GDP growth.


Before venturing into agriculture activism, the Padmasri Awardee Dr Joshi served in the Government PG College of Dehradun as a reader. He has also formed a voluntary organisation named Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO). An Ashoka Fellow, Dr Joshi has authored over 80 research papers and 10 books dealing with sustainable development in Himalayas through various means.

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