Agri Business

Agri infrastructure for farmers’ welfare is a priority

| Updated on August 09, 2018

Union Minister for Agriculture Radha Mohan Singh

 

The Narendra Modi government is committed to the welfare of farmers. As a result of this there has been a qualitative improvement in their lives. Taking a step in this direction, the government has transformed the targets meant for the implementation of farmers’ welfare schemes in a mission mode and time-bound manner.

The government has been successful in bringing about awareness amongst farmers through new initiatives taken for the development of the agriculture sector in the country.

Farmers provide an important direction to the efforts made in economic reforms. Therefore, to make radical changes in the system, proper emphasis should be given to post-harvest marketing and related arrangements.

Reducing costs

Keeping in view the unabated erosion of natural resources and climate change, the MS Swaminathan Committee had also called for attention to the management of science-based natural resources and sustainable production and development. Establishing the nation-wide soil health card scheme is an important aspect of this thought. The government has made the use of neem-coated urea mandatory to reduce the cost of agriculture and enhance the nitrogen use efficiency. Besides enhancing productivity, it also helps in preventing the misuse of urea in the non-agriculture sector. Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) is a very important scheme to ensure proper water management in agriculture practices.

Market reforms

The government has released the Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016, to all States, which is key for protecting the interests of both landholders and lessee farmers. The implementation of market reforms has led to the enhancement of transparency in the market. The e-NAM scheme links agriculture markets across the country. Apart from 585 mandis, the government has also set up the National Agricultural Market by focusing on open trade between the mandis.

The government has also made arrangements for small and marginal farmers to sell their produce in the nearby markets. There are 22,000 rural markets across the country thereby reducing the gap amongst them.

With the establishment of rural agriculture markets, farmers will be able to sell their produce directly to consumers or retailers and will get remunerative prices.

To achieve a strong and competent agricultural market with a proper judicial framework, the Modi government has released a model “Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing Act, 2016” to States. Also, Agriculture Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2018, has been sent to the states for adoption.

Procurement ramp-up

The decision to give MSP at 50 per cent and more of production cost is a significant step for the farmers. Since the start of the Green Revolution, procurement was confined mainly to paddy and wheat. After the Modi government took charge, there has been a tremendous enhancement in procurement of pulses and oilseeds. We are determined to extend profits to the farmers of pulses, oilseeds, coarse cereals, etc through the State governments.

Allied activities

In addition to farming, the government is also emphasising on livestock, fisheries and development of water bodies. The Rashtriya Gokul Mission, based on the conservation and development of indigenous bovine species, is an integral part of the overall development of the agriculture sector.

This will benefit a lot of small and marginal farmers, including landless agriculture labourers who possess these indigenous species. It is a matter of great pride that 161 indigenous species across the country have been registered and for this purpose the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is working actively.

The development of fish production, including marine and freshwater fishes, is improving the lives of the fishermen community. Fish production has achieved more growth than all other areas of agriculture.

For small farmers who cannot earn enough income, allied farming is being promoted. Agriculture-based collaborative schemes include beekeeping, mushroom production, agro forestry and bamboo production.

A total of 795 improved varieties of crops have been developed in the last four years by the ICAR, out of which 495 varieties are tolerant to climate change. These have been handed over to farmers so that they can take advantage of these advanced varieties.

In order to overcome the problem of malnutrition, 20 bio-fortified varieties were developed and released for cultivation. And to increase the income of families of marginal and small farmers, 45 Integrated Farming System (IFS) models have been developed. This will help in increasing soil health, water-usage effectiveness and conserve agricultural biodiversity. On economic evaluation, these models have been found to be beneficial in different States.

Besides budgetary support, the government has created corpus funds to improve the infrastructure for dairy, cooperative, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as animal husbandry, the agriculture market and micro irrigation.

The government has adopted an income-oriented approach towards sustainable production, keeping in mind the welfare of agriculture, farmers and the consumers.

Radha Mohan Singh is Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare

Published on August 09, 2018

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