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COMMUNICATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF PERI-URBAN AGRICULTURE
Singh AK and Singh L
Peri-urban agriculture occurs surrounding cities partly on urban and mostly on adjoining rural lands. It includes various production systems such as crops, horticulture, livestock, aquaculture and the related ones & mainly to meet daily demands of consumers in the town. In India, the concerns of peri-urban agriculture have not been addressed separately though the farming systems and conditions in these areas are quite different from distant rural areas. A study conducted in the peri-urban areas of Kanpur city of Uttar Pradesh (India) indicated that the existing communication interventions are quite traditional & the policies are also not changed in view of the changing requirement of peri-urban areas. Though the farmers are quick & intelligent to sense the market demands and hence opt to grow the enterprises accordingly. However, the problem lies with the existing support services particularly that of Govt. machinary which is quite rigid, inflexible, and insensitive to market demands. The private has assumed the major share of communication in recent times but it is still unorganised, lacking technical efficiency and having reputation of being engaged in profit maximization and less interested in quality services to the farmers.
The communication system needs to imbibe the messages related to more income generating activities from the small holdings possessed by the farmers. The communication systems also need to thrust upon off season technologies, establishment of small production units, supporting food processing & other economic enterprises, which is lacking at present. Organised communication on marketing, credit, advisory services, natural resource management, gender related issues, commodity specific issues & economic enterprise specific issues hold the key for the sustainable agricultural production.