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Focus more on post-harvesting and food processing: Modi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 01, 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi   -  PTI

‘Important to have good storage facilities near villages, and better logistics to carry farm produce to processing units’

 

India needs to focus on revolutions in post-harvesting technology and food processing as well as value addition as the country faces a glut in food production, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.

Participating in a webinar on effective implementation of budgetary allocation for agriculture and allied sectors, the Prime Minister said such efforts should have been made at least two to three decades ago and now that it has not had been done earlier, there is a need to double up to cover lost ground as well as to take India forward in the global food market.

Also read: Revolution needed in food-processing, says PM

Stating that there are around 12 crore small farmers in the country, Modi said his government policies for the sector revolve around these small farmers. Empowering these farmers can rid Indian agricultural sector of most of its problems, he added.

“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,” the Prime Minister said.

Citing the example of what the country has done in the dairy sector over these years, he said every agricultural sector including foodgrains, fruits, vegetables, and fisheries should focus on processing. To do this, it is important to have good storage facilities near villages. Besides, there should be better logistics to carry farm produce to processing units, Modi said, adding that farmer producer organisations (FPOs) can be of help in this by hand-holding the processing units.

He called for the improvement of the system of taking the produce from the fields to processing units and emphasised that hand-holding of these units be done by the FPOs.

Apart from Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, the webinar was attended by experts from agriculture, dairy, fisheries and animal husbandry as well as by representatives from banks that are funding projects in these sectors.

The Prime Minister highlighted some of the major budgetary provisions for agriculture in the current Union Budget. Apart from increasing agriculture credit target to ₹16.5-lakh crore and the hiking rural infrastructure fund to ₹40,000 crore, the Budget has provisions to double allocation for micro-irrigation, to expand the scope of Operation Green Scheme to 22 perishable products and to link an additional 1,000 mandis with e-NAM.

Modi also said in the last six months as many as 350 kisan rails were operated across the country helping farmers move about one lakh tonnes of fruits, vegetables and other perishable produce. The kisan rail has emerged as a strong medium of cold chain and storage in the country, he said.

He urged the experts attending the webinar to lay emphasis on creating clusters for fruits and vegetables processing in the districts across the country. The government has already made provisions for helping a million micro food processing units under the PM Micro Food Processing Enterprises Upgradation scheme, Modi said.

Published on March 01, 2021

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