Agriculture scientist Padmabhushan M Mahadevappa claimed that the Karnataka government is treating farmers like “backbenchers”.
At a brainstorming session to understand 'Agriculture in Media,' hosted by University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Bengaluru, on Friday, he said there is a need to understand the gravity of the agrarian crisis.
The session focused on ways to mainstream agriculture news in the media and to evolve effective communication models to reach out to farmers and disseminate real-time information on weather, land use, laws and market linkages among others.
“Should the media stop ‘glorifying farmer suicides’ and switch to positive narratives? Have agriculture extension service ended up only as fertiliser-seed distribution centres and not as info centres? Is there a growing disconnect between agriculture research community and the farmers?—were some of the questions raised during the session.
“Poor media coverage of agriculture (0.65 per cent) reflects the value structure in journalism today. Agriculture is not a second order discipline. Media should look beyond metropolitan issues, politics, market, movies and crime. Land, water and climate change can no longer be ignored by the media. Even legislative debates rarely reflect the concerns or advancements in agriculture sector. It is time to innovate and present agriculture news in a more acceptable form,” said former legislator B.K. Chandrashekhar.
UAS Vice Chancellor H Shivanna said, “The extension activities have not failed although there is a general perception that the transfer of technology from the lab to land has not been effective. The foodgrain production since Independence has scaled up—from 50 million tonnes to 257 million tonnes today because of technology transfer. But the demand for food production is increasing and we need to evolve ways to meet the demand even as we judiciously use our resources—land, water and bio-diversity)”.