Agriculture in Rajasthan is undergoing a major transformation. Rajasthan: once a dry, barren state struggling with water issues enjoys surplus harvest today—all due to the collective efforts of Rajasthan farmers and government. In 2013, when chief minister Vasundhara Raje took over the political mantle in Rajasthan, she started out with the vision to boost farmer income by 2020. Keeping this in mind, the government made efforts in the right direction—committed to uplifting the status of farmers in Rajasthan.
The change began at basic level—soil that connects corporeal beings to nature. About 45 lakh soil health cards were distributed among farmers so they can estimate soil productivity in their region. Based on this data, the government launched ‘Mukhyamantri Beej Swavlamban Abhiyan’—public seed distribution campaign that supplied superior quality seeds to farmers.
MJSA or ‘Mukhyamantri Jal Swavlamban’ restored 11,170 million cubic feet water in underground reservoirs to solve water scarcity in 3,529 villages. The ambitious rainwater harvesting scheme restored green cover near 95,000 revamped ponds and reservoirs in water-starved districts of Rajasthan.
Once the seeds germinated, Rajasthan cooperative society offered subsidized manures, insecticides and tools to farmers on loan via KCC (Kisan Credit Cards). Farmers availed the benefits of government schemes via 45,000 E-Mitra centers—India’s biggest digital network for service delivery. Not only this, interest-free, quick crop loans were offered to the farmers so they could rent modern farming equipment from the CHCs (custom hiring centers) and the market. As a matter of fact, many farmers welcomed new technologies on their field, after getting financial assistance from the government.
Gradually, Rajasthan explored new horizons in agriculture. It became the only state to offer insurance cover to farmers at the lowest premium rate (Rs 27/year). Consequently, more than 25 lakh farmers are covered under Bhamashah kisan suraksha beema yojana. The state stood second in terms of offering interest-free crop loans worth Rs 13,540.46 crores to 23 lakh 31 thousand farmers.
Realizing the storage requirements in agriculturally-dominant regions, the government directed the cooperative societies to lease cold-storage warehouses to farmers at reasonable rates. When farmers produce crops in bulk, Rajasthan government bought their crops at standard market rates to prevent their losses: Garlic and quinoa being the latest examples.
Farmers were connected to online mandis (e-NAM) where they can directly sell their produce to potential customers—a breakthrough step that made them digitally-adept. With their best interests in mind, the state introduced ‘Mini markets’, ‘Annapurna Bhandars’ and ‘Smart Villages’—to ensure a better standard of living.
GRAM—Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet was the biggest step towards boosting farmer income before 2020. This mega international meet introduced Rajasthan farmers to modernize agriculture, novel irrigation techniques and secondary sources of income through agro-marketing, post-harvest processing, eco-tourism, animal husbandry and dairy farming.
With these efforts, bold and confident Rajasthan farmers script new story of success every day. Today, Rajasthan leads in the production of seed spices, garlic, 24 varieties of citrus fruits, olive and countless other products. The government will try to keep up with this pace, to ensure that every farmer gets two times more than what he has invested in his fields.