Time has come to strengthen the present rural economy through all round development in rural sector, where majority of our population live in villages in Assam with agriculture is the main occupation as their livelihood. It envisaged not only to give stress upon boosting of agricultural crop production only, but also to provide equal importance towards development of related fields of agriculture like Animal Husbandry, Fishery, Sericulture, Handloom and Textile, Social Forestry, Bee-keeping etc. It is practically impossible to reach the destination in the agriculture as well as its allied sectors only through individual approach by a farmer, rather it necessitates a coordinated and effective endeavour. It is therefore expected that the formation of a Field Management Committee (FMC) on the basis of involvement of farmers in a village will surely fulfill the endeavour to upkeep the rural development process. The FMC ,a Village level well organized body is a good example which may initiate for all round rural development . Formation of a FMC is centralized in a crop field within a village involving farmers, preferably who own cultivated land under the canopy of similar field situation exists in their crop land. It may be mentioned that inclusion of female members will further accelerate various activities of the FMC.
The entire economy of our state of Assam is primarily rests upon agriculture. Hence, Field Management Committee has immense role to play to accelerate the all round development in agriculture and its allied sectors. In this context, FMC, therefore have to strictly maintain some rules and regulations and follow appropriate procedure to achieve satisfactory results.
Capital is considered to be the prime regulating factor to run any organization smoothly and efficiently. To combat with the financial situation, FMC has its important responsibility to raise a fund through contribution, in terms of money or by collecting agricultural produce collected from its members. The contribution amount should be so fixed, so that lowest category of economically backward farmer member can afford to contribute the amount without any hindrance to his economic condition. From this raised fund, FMC can expedite expenditure on various activities as per its necessity, besides it can afford loan to members of FMC on related purposes. Sometimes mishandling of such fund leads to creation of unhealthy situation within an organization. To avoid such situation, transparency in the entire process must be maintained with regards to fund available with FMC.
Though the agriculture is the main occupation of villagers in our rural areas , farmers in general are more or less involved in more than a single sector for their livelihood and choose among the fields from Animal Husbandry, Fishery, Sericulture, Handloom and Textile, Social Forestry, Bee-keeping etc. As its first activity , FMC has to identify and record the main occupation of farmer members for their livelihood along with their existing subsidiary occupation . Besides, it necessitates to record regarding availability of infrastructure such as source of capital, agricultural implements and machinery etc. All these information help in achieving expected goals by the specific FMC.
As a part of this identification process it is also require to explore the gap between existing adoption process of various activities with that of modern scientific method to be adopted in the related sectors. This will help to prepare a short term as well as long term planning for capacity building in different activities of various fields of development. In this regards, a yearly calendar regarding agriculture and its allied sector be prepared with consultation with scientist, specialist and extension staff of the related discipline and experienced person.
All the related government departments have their own developmental schemes. It is the duty of respected FMC to communicate with various department/departments and implement specific schemes through properly identified farmer members as beneficiaries for a particular scheme. At the very first stage, whether it is a departmental schemes or introduction of a new high yielding variety, or a new scientific method or technique, whatever it may be, it should be adopted in a very small area, as an experimental basis and expand it in a big way in the next time if a satisfactory result is achieved. To start with such type of adoption process ,also for achieving satisfactory results, advice should be taken from technically expert and experienced person having technical know-how to avoid deviation from the proper norms during the entire period of implementation of a particular scheme.
When a particular crop within a specific crop field is cultivated in a cluster basis, almost all the activities such as sowing of seeds, various agricultural operations, monitoring etc. can be taken up very comfortably and in a most efficient way by FMC’s member . Stray cattle menace which is common in Assam, especially during the rabi season can easily be restricted by this way of cultivation. The cultivation in a cluster basis facilitate for installation of shallow tube well in potential areas which will make provision to cover the cultivated land with triple cropping.
There is a enough scope in Assam for cultivation of comparatively new crops like Sunflower, Rajmah, Grounnut, Black pepper (Jaluk)etc. Hence to popularize such crops, it necessitates arranging motivation programme through conducting training and demonstration programme in various fields under different regions. In this regards FMCs have responsibilities towards extending support to farmers regarding collection of seeds, provision of new technology for cultivation of these new crops.
A significant role of the FMC will further create scope for educated unemployed youth through establishment of horticultural nursery or opening of Agricultural Service Centre, dealership business on agricultural inputs and arrangement for marketing business of agricultural produce of the area. FMC can also accelerate the process of formation of Self Help Group (SHG) among women folks and extend facilities for establishment of Community Canning and Training Centers.
Under an able and efficient leadership with following well laid rules and regulations along with transparency of all related activities, FMC can surely able to create a situation that leads to grow our rural economy in a significant way as per expectation of anybody.
*Translated and edited version of the Assamese article by Bhupen Dutta, published in “DAINIK ASAM” (April23,1997)