“It seems this felicitation programme is for some big man. That is why there are so many cars and so many people here…,” said the security guard at the UAS-B Alumni Association Convention Centre, who was tired of asking visitors to park their cars properly to ensure smooth traffic. The venue of the programme was jam packed and a large number of people had to stand outside as there were no empty seats.
Well, the programme was to honour N.C. Patel, a 70-year-old innovative farmer, who introduced white grapes and exotic varieties of mangoes such as Mallika and Amrapali in Karnataka by growing them in a big way in his farm.
People came to the programme in large numbers to show their gratitude and affection towards this farmer from Nagadasanahally in Bangalore North taluk who has proved that big money can be earned even from farming, if latest farming practices and technology are adopted.
Speaking on the occasion, Gandhi Bhavan president H. Srinivasaiah felt that Mr. Patel deserved a Padma award for his contribution to the agricultural sector, considering the fact that he had inspired a large number of youth to take to farming. “I cannot understand why farmers, who play an important role in protecting the country’s food security, are not being considered for Padma awards when cine actors and artistes are being honoured with such awards,” he remarked.
The former Union Minister M.V. Rajasekharan observed that it was not possible for any country to survive without giving importance to agriculture.
He said that villages were becoming old-age homes as the rural youth were migrating to cities in search of job, leaving behind the aged parents. Mr. Rajasekharan stressed the need for retaining rural youth in agriculture by creating infrastructure in villages in the interest of the future of the country’s food security.
The former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda termed farming a challenging task and stressed the need for the government to lend support to farmers in handling it .
Mahatma Gandhi’s grand daughter Sumitra Gandhi Kulkarni described farming as the best profession. “Where will the country get its food if everybody quits farming?” she wondered and called upon the society to respect farmers who give food to the country.
Replying to the felicitation, Mr. Patel owed his success to the scientists and officials of the Agriculture and Horticulture departments who mentored him.