Photo: Shalini Tahir
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  • Empowerment of small farmers is central to the Government’s vision
  • We have to expand our country’s agriculture sector into  global market for processed food: PM

The Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi on Monday stressed on the need for more private sector contribution towards R&D in the agriculture sector. He said that we now have to give such options to farmers in which they are not limited to growing only wheat and rice. We can try from organic food to salad-related vegetables, there are several crops, he noted. He said increased private sector participation and their investment in R&D will boost the confidence of the farmer. He added that India will have to promote startups associated with the agriculture sector and connect the youth.

The Prime Minister, Sri Modi addressed a webinar on Monday on effective implementation of Budget provisions regarding Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare through video conference.

In this webinar experts from Agriculture, Dairy, Fisheries sector, stakeholders from Public, Private & Cooperative sector and Representatives from Banks funding the rural economy participated.

Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister outlined the vision of the government with small farmers in the center. He added that empowerment of small farmers will greatly help in ridding Indian agriculture from many problems. He highlighted some of the provisions for Agriculture in this Union Budget like increasing the Agriculture Credit target to Rs 16,50,000 crores with priority to Animal husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries sector, increasing Rural Infrastructure Fund to Rs 40,000 crores, doubling the allocation for micro irrigation, expanding the scope of Operation Green Scheme to 22 perishable products and linking 1000 more mandis with e-NAM.

The Prime Minister strongly emphasized on developing processing in every agriculture related sector such as food grains, vegetables, fruits, fisheries etc. He said, for this, it is critical that farmers should have the storage facilities near their villages. He called for the improvement of the system of taking the produce from the fields to processing units and emphasized that hand holding of these units be done by the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs). He stressed on the need for expanding the options for the country’s farmers to sell their produce. “We have to expand our country’s agriculture sector into the global market for processed food. We must increase the number of Agro-Industries Clusters near the village so that the people of the village can get employment related to farming in the village itself” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister lamented that even though India is one of the world’s major Fish Producers and Exporters, our presence in processed fish in the international market is very limited. He said to change this scenario, in addition to the reforms, the Government has announced production linked incentives worth about Rs 11,000 crores to encourage products such as Ready to Eat, Ready to cook, processed fruits and vegetables and processed SeaFood.

The Prime Minister said under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat campaign, emphasis is being laid on creating clusters for fruits and vegetables processing in the districts across the country. Under the Prime Minister Micro Food Processing Enterprises Upgradation Scheme, millions of Micro Food Processing Units are being helped. He stressed on the need for using modern technology to help the small farmers with cheap and effective options for hourly rental of tractors, straw machines or other farm machinery. Using truck aggregators to provide a cheap and effective means for farm produce to reach the market.

The Prime Minister gave a call to make concerted efforts in the farming of the country, to find a comprehensive technological solution from irrigation to sowing, till harvesting and earning.

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