New Delhi: The Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Mr Radha Mohan Singh has said that the central government is giving priority to agriculture sector by allocating maximum funds for the farmers’ welfare. Mr Singh said that the government aims at increasing the agriculture production, determining productivity and boosting dairy/livestock/fisheries while promoting agriculture education, research and extension organization. It was stated by Mr Singh while inaugurating two-day National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2017, recently in New Delhi.
The Minister of States for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Mr Parshottam Rupala and Mr Sudarshan Bhagat and senior government officials were present on this occasion. Discussion at the conference was centered on last year’s agricultural production, how to increase the production of next year’s Kharif crop, raising agricultural productivity in consultation with the state governments, ensuring the availability of inputs before the cropping season, implementation of technology and new innovations in the agriculture sector.
Mr Singh said that to achieve Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, Agriculture Ministry has written letters to the state governments urging them to strategise and work on it. Agriculture Minister said that while strategising, the state governments will have to closely monitor agricultural production and agricultural products processing activities.
Union Minister said that for the success of schemes, we will have to work together with dedication and sincerity. Mr Singh further informed that this year’s growth rate for the agriculture and allied sectors was about 4 percent.
For the welfare of agriculture sector, the Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Ministry has converted all its schemes into special missions, schemes and programmes. With joint efforts of all stakeholders, the 2nd advance estimates predict about 271.98 MT production of food grain, which is 8.11 percent higher as compared to the year 2015-16. Mr Singh also said that the production of the foodgrains is 5.82 percent more than the last five years’ average production. There was a record foodgrains production in 2013-14, however, this year’s yield was 2.61 percent higher as compared to 2013-14.
Agriculture Minister said that the farmers have started reaping the benefit of the schemes initiated by the department of Agriculture Cooperation & Farmers Welfare. The schemes include National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Horticulture Mission (NHM), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), and Total Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
Agriculture Minister said that the Ministry is focusing on the production and productivity of oilseeds and equal attention is also being given to the fruits, vegetables and horticulture. The government is also focusing on quality and availability of seeds. Apart from that national seed mission has been initiated under the scheme grants will be given for seed processing, seed storage, improving the quality of seeds and storing of seeds for the emergency.
Mr Singh said that the government is trying to safeguard farmers’ interest by announcing a minimum support price for main agricultural commodities. The thrust of the policy is to create a balanced and integrated structure to meet the overall needs of the economy. To support the prices, central nodal agencies such as FCI, CCI, JCI, NAFED, SFAC etc. start procurement process to ensure that the market price doesn’t slip below the MSP fixed by the government. In case the market price of the commodity falls below the announced minimum price, govt agencies intervenes under Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) and procures the entire quantity offered by the farmers at the announced minimum price. During the period of 2014-15 to 2016-17, Indian government procured chilli, apple, ginger, potato, oil palm, grapes, onion betelnut, etc from the farmers of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. Any sharp rise or fall in prices not only causes harm to consumers but farmers too. To mitigate volatility in the prices of agricultural produce, a Price Stabilisation Fund of Rs 500 Crore for agricultural commodities was announced, which has been now increased to Rs.1500 crore. To control the rising pulses price, 40,000 metric tonne pulses have been distributed to the states at their behest and meanwhile, the government is creating a buffer stock of 20 lakh metric tonne pulses. Simultaneously government is procuring 20,000 metric tonne onion for buffer stock.
Mr Singh also said that the Kharif season is around the corner, therefore, it is imperative for the state governments to make plans to procure high-quality seeds of several types of crops and fertilisers for the farmers. The state governments should ensure that there is no scarcity of inputs during the cropping season.