Sunday, October 23, 2011

Challenges and opportunities for Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture (CMSA)

·         Availability of quality technical persons: Finding quality technical persons is one of the constraints to spread CMSA message.  

·         Increasing labour costs:  CMSA methods require considerable labour for preparing extracts and growing poly crops etc. as the labour costs are increasing day by day famers want low labour requirement methods.

·         Changing lifestyles:  CMSA methods require certain lifestyle changes in the farming community. Most of the farmers are unable to change their lifestyles that are influenced by marketing forces.

·         Managing workforce: Scaling up leads to increasing workforce and managing diversified workforce is real challenge. Monitoring them and building their skills require lot of efforts and resources.

·         Reaching out to millions of farmers: Now we could able to reach the farmers through Farmer Field School (FFS) and SHG meetings through VAs and CAs. This model is finically not viable and requires intense monitoring at all levels. We need to develop an alternative model of extension system to spread the message and increasing the adoption rates. Further we have to design innovative communication systems for effective communication with farmers.

·         Providing market linkages: Farmers adopting sustainable agriculture methods are expecting reasonable premium prices. Providing market linkages are one of the challenges as the markets are volatile in nature, further they require certification. Certification requires considerable investments by farmers.

·          Climate change: Most of the CMSA methods either mitigate or adapt to climate change. It is an opportunity for us to spread the message.

·         Increasing consumer awareness: Increasing consumer awareness and changing preferences will enable the farmer to get more prices. This will motivate farmers to adopt CMSA methods

·         Hostility of Scientific institutes and department of Agriculture: All most all scientific institutes and department of agriculture are not accepting CMSA methods. Convincing them is very important for the future of the program. For convincing them we need to document the results in scientific way. This requires intense efforts and building the capacities of the staff in organizing experimental trails.  

·         Policies favoring chemical agriculture:  Many programs supported by government are promoting chemical pesticides and chemical fertilsiers. Most of the times department is providing chemical fertilsiers and pesticides either on subsidies or free of cost as part of the package. This results in low turnout of the farmers towards sustainable agriculture.

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