Article National Agro Foundation - funded through government and CSR funds

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    Practices 4E Model to uplift the economic status of the farmers in 450 villages in four states

    National Agro Foundation (NAF) was established by Shri C Subramaniam (CS) with the vision to bring soil based green revolution. “There is complete shift in agriculture now. Earlier it was production oriented while presently it is market oriented. Hence the farmers need to be trained to grow as per the requirement of consumers. Secondly, in our country the agriculture productivity is very low and untapped. We at NAF work to improve the same by helping farmers deploy rightful soil health management and farming practices. We offer our services primarily to small and marginal farmers,” explains Dr. M R Ramasubramaniyan, Executive Director.
    Photo - Dr M R Ramasubramaniyan, National Agro Foundation a.jpg
    NAF is funded through government and CSR funds. Organization is working in 450 villages in 10 districts of Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra for implementing a sustainable integrated rural development model. “While working closely with the farmers we found farmers lack the technical know-how and new- age farming techniques. Therefore we started the training center. Another problem identified was lack of water. So we started the service of watershed management. We clubbed all our activities in 4E model,” he says.

    4E Model includes Economic Improvement, Education, Environmental Issues and Empowerment. All 4E are interconnected with one another. Economic Improvement aims to increase the productivity for which NAF provides soil health management, seeds and farming techniques etc. To attain increase in production it is vital to train the farmers therefore Education is included in the model. While moving on with growth and development program environment is affected so it is addressed through effective water management and chemical free farming and lastly Empowerment. Farmers need to be made independent by selling their farm produce so farmers’ producer companies, groups and clubs are created. “In this way NAF works under the directives 4E model,” he elaborates.

    When asked about the operation procedure in the villages, Dr. Ramasubramaniyan says, “First we conduct the survey of the village to identify the problem areas, prevailing farming practices, gap holes and areas of improvement. Then we select the progressive farmers and train them to address the identified work areas. They in turn bring change by helping other farmers under our guidance and administration.” The survey and training team includes experts from all the fields related to agriculture such as bank, production and marketing so on. Training is given on farmers’ field itself because, “We follow ‘Seeing is Believing’. Acceptance is more when they see the changes in the productivity. They are part of the entire training process. Nothing is left on assumption or imagination instead everything is live.”

    NAF promotes LEAN farming that implies to reduce the unwanted farming input cost and enriching the soil for better productivity. “Without knowing what soil requires farmers apply the fertilizer! It is an unnecessary expense to him. In this sold health analysis comes handy as farmers are explained with proof as what soil needs and what they should apply. 70% soil tests reveal there is no need for DAP. When they apply DAP it cost them Rs. 2000/acre. On the contrary soil need bio-fertilizers that comes for Rs. 620/acre. So in this way we help farmers to reduce the farming input cost and progress them towards LEAN farming,” clarifies Dr. Ramasubramaniyan. Soil health management practices involved analyzing the farmland soil in comprehensive manner. “We check presence of not only the macro nutrients but also the secondary and micro nutrients apart from general fertility determining parameters in the soil. It is all done in our hi-tech laboratory,” he says. It has helped in bringing down the cost that has increased the profits of the farmers by 70%.

    Speaking of the achievements of NAF, “Farmers are graduating from individual farmers to farmer producer companies as they get the increase in farm production by 25-30%. In addition, most important we provide them in-depth information about the market statistics. They are told regarding the premium farming products, high demand season and most sought after farm produces etc. Hence farmers know what to grow to earn better! Besides we always provide them the best possible guidance and market linkages,” he asserts.

    In future, NAF wants to scale up the water management initiatives and techniques. “Water is a huge problem and we want to help farmers cope with it in smart ways. We also aim to reach another 1.5 lakh farmer in coming three years. We even provide training for inland fisheries, livestock and integrated farming. We want to expand these areas as well,” he shares.

    Dr. M R Ramasubramaniyan did his doctorate in agriculture with specialization in agronomy and agricultural extension. He is associated with the organization since inception in the year 2000. He concludes saying, “Urban youth is getting attracted to farming while rural youth is running away from farming reason being farmers themselves do not want their children to continue their legacy due to immense problems they had faced. But future will change with many IT enabled solutions, farm mechanization and value addition coming in agriculture and consequently trading of agricultural commodities will increase by many folds improving overall national economies substantially!”

    Contact details:
    National Agro Foundation
    R & D Centre, Anna University Taramani Campus,
    CSIR Road, Taramani,
    Chennai – 600 113,
    Phone: +9144-22542598/ 22542803

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