The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has said that the Agriculture sector is the backbone of our country and our rural economy and agriculture have such strength that the country can easily overcome even the adverse situations. The Indian Agriculture sector has shown this during the Covid pandemic. The Government of India provided food security to 800 million people of the country, as well as helped friendly countries. Today we are in the first or second place in the world in terms of most of the agricultural produce. Despite this, there are some challenges before the Agriculture sector. There is a need to work in this direction to transform agriculture into advanced farming, technology should be used in agriculture and its continuity should be maintained.
Shri Tomar said this in his virtual address to the National Conference on Enhancing Agricultural Productivity on the topic “Integration of Improved Seeds and Agri Inputs”, organized by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) in New Delhi today. Shri Tomar said that the stronger and more profitable the Agriculture sector is, the stronger the country will be. There is a need to consider the challenges facing Agriculture today. In spite of all the favourable conditions, the area under farming and its profit and loss depend a lot on the nature. People’s curiosity and attachment towards agriculture should increase, agriculture should be attractive for the next generation and farmers can be retained for farming, more work needs to be done in this direction. Shri Tomar said that the government is working to reduce the gap between farmers and the market, providing infrastructure in rural areas and eliminate the role of middlemen. He said that the number of small farmers in the country is more, who have small acreage and do not have money for investment; for such farmers, the Central Government is setting up 10,000 new FPOs, for which a provision of Rs 6,865 crore has been made and small farmers are being mobilized. It is the effort of the government that farmers should do group farming, so that the input costs can be reduced, production quality improves and small farmers can shift to remunerative crops and get the price for their produce on their own terms. FPOs can also process products. For this, the government has extended loans up to Rs. 2 crore without guarantee.
Shri Tomar said that to reduce import dependence in oilseeds, the Oil Palm Mission has been started with a provision of Rs.11,000 crore. 28 lakh hectares of land in the country is suitable for oil palm cultivation. The prospects are high in the Northeast. Provision of Rupees One lakh crore Agri Infra Fund has been made for creation of infrastructure in the villages. Provision has also been made for special packages for Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Medicinal Farming. Shri Tomar said that the Government of India is also working on the Digital Agriculture Mission, in which farmers, banks and other institutions will be linked, crop assessment made, data collected and crop losses will also be assessed with technology. Mapping will be done in such a way that farmers across the country can be advised through the State Governments as to where and which consumption is there, accordingly profit can be earned by producing as much needed. There will be no panic and there will be no loss. The Government has also emphasized on Natural Farming, in this direction we all need to work ahead. ASSOCHAM members including Secretary General Shri Deepak Sood, Shri Asghar Naqvi and Shri Jai Shroff were present in the programme. A knowledge paper was released on the occasion.