Rythu Bharosa Kendram

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Every year immediately after the onset of monsoon, all farmers start preparing their lands for Kharif season. They also purchase the required inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, etc. from the market. This is a common scenario in our country which is composed mostly of marginal and small landholders.

The COVID impact & Special Measures

After the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the countries, including ours have suffered severely in their major sectors, including agriculture. The agri-export market, where most of our farmers gained better prices for their produce, has also shrunk. And this is not restricted to just the agri-exports but almost every agriculture-dependent livelihood suffered.

Let us consider the input sector, wherein most of the farmers invest, in the form of purchasing seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. For covering this purchase, the GoI had come up with a support of 6,000 rupees under the PM-KISAN scheme. The state governments further increased the support by adding more cash transfers under their own schemes like the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme of Odisha, Rythu Bandhu of Telangana, and Ryhu Bharosa of Andhra Pradesh.

Where the initial problem lies?

The majority of the farmers due to the lack of proper awareness, purchase adulterated seeds and fertilizers from the market, unknowingly. Even though many state governments provide the facility of High Yielding Varieties, subsidized seeds and fertilizers to all farmers, it is availed only by a small section of large and influential ones. Kandukuri Veeranjaneyulu, a farmer from the village of Ganapavaram, Andhra Pradesh had been a victim of adulterated seeds of cotton resulting in low production and quality. He was also unable to sell his produce at a nominal rate. He was devastated as he could not meet even the initial cost invested by him during the plantation. This is a common story of all farmers. Also, direct cash transfer might have improved the chain of government aid reaching to the beneficiary, but the dilemma still exists in their financial illiteracy and poor knowledge, modes of availing the cash. There is also a lack of knowledge of the market prices, market accessibility and infrastructure.

A special Approach by Andhra Pradesh

After analysing all of these issues, Andhra Pradesh’s state government in their research identified the gaps and formulated many initiatives like the Rythu Bharosa Kendras (RBK) - ‘Digital Kiosks for the Farmers’. It was officially launched on the 30th of May 2020, counting up to 10,641 in number. These setups are made to provide a platform for a one-stop solution to all the farmers, at their own village level.

Major work performed by these RBK’s are:-

1. Providing subsidized inputs and crop loans to the farmers.

2. Online purchase and doorstep delivery of the products, directly to the farmers.

3. Frequent weather updates and forecasts.

4. Agri-Portal services to the farmers through the kiosk.

5. Providing information on current market prices and makes RBKs work as village mandis.

6. Providing technological information on the agriculture and allied sectors to the farmers.

All of these simple measures could significantly improve the support to the farmers and as a result, lead in maximizing their yield.

Village Agricultural Assistant (VAA) of Ganapavaram village RBK delivering subsidized seeds to Kandukuri Veeranjaneyulu. (Source - Govt. of A.P. Agricultural Dept.)

Farmer K. Veeranjaneyulu is highly elated as he is getting the inputs through government certified agencies at his doorstep and hopes for a good yield for his upcoming crops. RBKs are well structured to a certain extent and have been able to bridge certain gaps in the farming sector. With regular accountability-inspection, staying transparent and proper implementation by the ‘Village Agricultural Assistants’ on the field, it can lead to its phenomenal success. Also, focusing on how to improve the know-how of the farmers themselves and how to reduce the dependency is a way forward for it.

- Vamsi

About the Author:

Vemula Vamsi is an Agricultural Engineering graduate from Acharya N.G.Ranga Agricultural University. He is a poultry farming entrepreneur. Worked as a soft skills trainer for a period of one year. He is also an active ham radio enthusiast with call-sign VU3FIO.