By Mansukh Mandaviya
As per Economic Survey 2022-23, around 65 % of the country’s population lives in the rural areas and 47 per cent of the population is dependent on agriculture for livelihood. Agriculture is a time bound activity that requires right agri-inputs at right time to maximise the production and productivity. Agri-inputs are essential ingredients of agriculture and an efficient delivery system of agri-inputs and services play a crucial role in the growth of farm income.
In India, network of input services is fragmented and there are separate dealer networks for seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and implements acting in silos promoting their respective interests. In addition, need for testing of soil, seed, fertilizers and information regarding different farmer oriented schemes reaches farmers through different agencies in a disjointed and piece meal manner. This approach fails to provide technology based holistic information to the farmers for taking informed decisions.
The solution lies in providing holistic solution to the farmers under one umbrella/ roof backed by government that the farmer can trust and follow. In the past, the private sector has tried to replicate the model of umbrella centres for farmers’ inputs and services but more or less those attempts remained unsuccessful.
Thus, the idea of transforming the existing fertilizer retail shops that are mostly frequented by farmers into Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samriddhi Kendra (PMKSK) , a one-stop shop solution, has come up as a sustainable and long term solution to cater to the needs of the farmers. The programme launched by the Modi Government, has ushered in a revolutionary transformation in the country’s agricultural sector.With a vision to empower farmers and boost agricultural growth, this pioneering initiative aims to simplify access to agricultural inputs, information, and services, uplifting the lives of farmers and contributing to the nation’s progress.
Under the PMKSK initiative, around 2, 80,000 active retail fertiliser shops are undergoing a phased conversion into comprehensive one-stop shops for farmers. At its core, the PMKSK initiative focuses on offering a diverse range of agri-inputs, including fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides, small farm machinery/ implements to the farmers including drone services for spraying of fertilizers and pesticides in a hassle-free and convenient manner. A vital aspect of the PMKSK initiative is the provision of soil and seed testing facility. By equipping farmers with knowledge about their specific soil and crop conditions, these facilities enable informed decision-making, optimised resource utilisation, and higher yields. This promotes precision agriculture and resource-efficient farming practices. Moreover, PMKSKs serve as knowledge hubs, disseminating crucial information on crops and government welfare schemes. Bridging the information gap, these centres empower farmers to make informed choices, thereby enhancing their efficiency and income.
The aim is to simplify the lives of millions of farmers. The initiative will ensure better farm productivity and overall prosperity of the farming community.
Recent developments demonstrate the success of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samriddhi Kendra initiative. In a significant event named ‘PM-Kisan Sammelan’ held in Sikar, Rajasthan, on July 27, 2023, the Hon’ble Prime Minister dedicated1, 25,000 PMKSKs to the nation. The widespread participation of nearly 2 crore farmers across the country shows an affirmative stamp by the end users to this initiative.
The success of the initiative can also be gauged from the feeling of oneness and sense of pride among different stakeholders. The recent survey indicated that there is already 15- 20% increase in number of farmers visiting the centres and it is found that they are happy with the transformation right from ambience of the PMKSK to the facilities and inputs available at the centres. The sale of nano urea too has reached 6 crores through these PMKSKs. Drone entrepreneurs supported by fertilizer companies are slowly associating with PMKSKs for promoting spraying of fertilizers and chemicals in a better way. The increased bonding between states, KVKs, dealers has been resulting in successful dissemination of knowledge and services to the farmers in a positive way.
Thus, PMKSK initiative is proving to be a game changer in empowering the farmers and strengthening the backbone of the nation’s economy. By simplifying access to agricultural inputs and knowledge, empowering farmers with modern technologies, and fostering sustainable practices, PMKSKs are ushering in a new era of prosperity for the farming community. With unwavering government support and collective efforts from stakeholders, PMKSKs will continue to drive positive change, strengthening the agricultural backbone of the nation and contributing to a thriving and self-reliant agrarian ecosystem.
Author Mansukh Mandaviya is Union Minister