Farm daily wins readers

BY Prabhakar Kulkarni| IN Media Practice | 27/05/2005
The daily which is priced at one rupee covers wide variety of subjects relating to agriculture.

Prabhakar Kulkarni

Agriculture which is so far neglected gained significance because of its potential as the sector of mass of rural voters. About seventy percent of the population residing in villages decides the fate of political future of the country. Besides its political significance, agriculture is still a major economic sector for the country. The Pune-based Sakal group of newspapers has now launched a Marathi daily ?Agro one?(English name, written in Marathi )  dedicated to all aspects of agriculture.

The daily which is priced at one rupee covers wide variety of subjects relating to agriculture. Sugarcane production, relations between sugarcane producers and sugar co-operative factories, production techniques to increase quantum of sugarcane and other crops, pesticides to be used for seasonal pests, credit facilities to agriculture, horticulture, milk dairies and other activities are some of the subjects covered by way of news, features and articles. The  editorial presents critical analysis about agricultural policies and also the performance of  government machinery which is expected to respond to the  periodical needs of farmers,  and problems of crop failures particularly in drought-affected areas. 

Another important aspect of the daily is a provision of a few pages out of the total sixteen to films, television and also subjects relating to health and fitness. This is because cinema and television network is now penetrated in rural areas and rural readers are eager to read news and features relating to these subjects. Modern trends in agriculture, contract farming, power shortage and arrival of Enron, legal aspects of farm activities, trading and agricultural market committee¿ activities besides rural politics in general and politics in co-operatives in particular are some of the subjects widely covered with regional events and interpretations.

A number of regular columns which relate to agriculture take their names from  specific rural terminology. For instance, a column named as ?Shivar¿ meaning cultivable land covers various developmental schemes in agriculture. ¿Khal¿ which means part of land where crops are kept for further processing covers various methods of crop processing like preparing tomato powder from tomatoes or milk bar from mango and milk. While market rates of various agricultural commodities are given in details even dairy and health of cattle and other veterinary details are also covered. A column ¿Krishi vani¿ (voice of agriculture)records almost every day what views and polities are narrated by dignitaries in government as also experts in agriculture and co-operative movement. 

The Sakal group having its own distribution network and publishing centres throughout Maharashtra has been able to reach out to large number of readers who are directly or indirectly interested in agriculture. Information technology   is now penetrated in rural areas particularly in those areas where sugar co-operatives are located. Hence regular feature introducing computerization and its relevant details are published in this daily.

Readers have appreciated the exclusive coverage of matters relating to agriculture. A special page for readers¿ views is named as ¿Apale Pan¿ (Your page). While majority of readers have commented that the ¿Agro one¿ has aptly responded to the long standing expectation of the rural population, one reader has said that agriculture is not limited to rural areas, because gardening and cultivation of selected crops in open spaces and also terraces in urban households and apartments make it mandatory for urban readers as well to read ¿Agro one¿ 

Editorials in this daily are covering various issues relating to marketing and other aspects of agricultural produce as also interpretation of socio-political events which have direct or indirect impact on agriculture and rural sector. National and international political scenes are also discussed in view of their impact on import export of agricultural commodities and precepts and practices indulged in by the World Trade  Organization  (WTO).For instance, the vital issue of subsidized interest rate for agriculture and government¿s positive assurances in this regard are not actually practiced by banks and financial institutions. This is rightly questioned by one of the editorials with special appeal to the state chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh. Corruption in the government¿s agricultural department is very severely criticized by one editorial which is written with reference to a top bureaucrat in agricultural department (state director of agriculture) arrested by the anti-corruption department. The editorial commented that such corrupt bureaucrats are  ¿parasites¿ which should be removed in larger interests of agricultural sector. 

As the first agricultural daily of its kind not only in Maharashtra but probably also in the country, ?Agro One? is setting a trend for others to follow. Its website is

Contact: prabhakar kulkarni,

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