Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Thursday urged the pesticides manufacturers to work on alternative products as many farmers have been showing interest in organic and natural farming. He also agreed to take up the industry’s demand on GST cut with the Finance Minister.

Addressing the Agrochemicals Conclave in Delhi organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) through video conferencing from Solan in Himachal Pradesh, Tomar said the private sector should also join hands with the government to reduce the use of fertilisers and pesticides in farming, even though he agreed that there was no injudicious use of these inputs.

Stressing crop diversification

The minister stressed on the industry to work with farmers on crop diversification as higher remunerative crops will help them to increase their income. “Remuneration is very important for the farmers in the agriculture sector, though increase in production is also very necessary. It is necessary to increase the returns in the field of agriculture and the post-harvest losses to the farmers should be minimal, for which steps need to be taken. The government wants farmers to use technology to shift to remunerative crops,” Tomar said.

On the industry’s demand to reduce GST on pesticides to 5 per cent from current 18 per cent, he said the matter is being dealt by the GST Council. Still, he would take up the issue with the finance ministry, but a final decision would be taken by the GST Council, the minister clarified.

He highlighted that the Centre has launched many programmes in the last eight years to boost agriculture sector and double farmers’ income.

As the country is self-sufficient in foodgrain production, the government has been making efforts to boost oilseeds and pulses output on mission mode. There is need to undertake research in developing new seed varieties to improve crop yield, while the industry should work for balanced use of fertilisers and pesticides.