These events would also showcase the government’s various pro-farmer policies and help in improving its negative perception among the farming class.
The move comes at a time when the country’s two most agriculturally vital states, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, are expected to go to the polls in the next few months. Both the states have suffered in the last few years due to poor monsoon, a sharp drop in farm realisation, mounting sugarcane arrears (at least in western Uttar Pradesh) and repeated pest attacks, leading to an all-round negative perception against the ruling regime. A limited increase in the minimum support price (MSP) to farmers and controversies surrounding the land acquisition Act also did not help.
The Centre is also planning to increase its interaction with over 600-odd Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) across the country through regular monitoring and supervision. KVKs are a vital part of the agriculture extension scheme and are in direct touch with the farmers for dissemination and distribution of information.
Krishi melas not only provide a platform for direct interaction between farmers and agriculture scientists, but also provide a single platform for the government to publicise its schemes and initiatives. Officials said the Centre plans to hold at least five such kisan melas annually.
This year, the first such mela was held in Delhi after which it was held in Mathura, Gorakhpur and the Northeast. In the coming year, the Centre plans to organise four to five farmers fair, starting with Delhi.
Of the four kisan melas held in 2016, two have been in Uttar Pradesh. One was held specifically to showcase the Centre’s initiatives for animal husbandry and livestock. In the Delhi event, the agriculture ministry claimed that more than 100,000 farmers participated. The mela had nine technical sessions and was telecast live in many blocks.