Need to Transform Agriculture to Advanced Farming

Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar addresses ASSOCHAM's national conference.

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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 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 first or second in the world regarding most agricultural produce. Despite this, there are some challenges for 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 maintain its continuity.

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 more robust and profitable the Agriculture sector is, the stronger the country will be. There is a need to consider the challenges facing Agriculture today. Despite all the favourable conditions, the area under farming and its profit and loss depend a lot on 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 eliminating 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 terms. FPOs can also process products. The government has extended loans up to Rs. 2 crores without guarantee.

Shri Tomar said that to reduce import dependence on 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 to create 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. Farmers, banks and other institutions will be linked, crop assessment will be made, data collected, and crop losses will be assessed with technology. Mapping will be done so 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 Natural Farming; we all need to work ahead in this direction. ASSOCHAM members were in the programme, including Secretary General Shri Deepak Sood, Shri Asghar Naqvi and Shri Jai Shroff. A knowledge paper was released on occasion.