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New Karnataka farm policy to help raise income, ensure sustainable activities

Anjana Chandramouly | Updated on March 12, 2018

Mr D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Chief Minister

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The Karnataka Government has implemented the Agriculture Business Development Policy to encourage more investment in agriculture. The State hopes to attract investment of about Rs 51,727 crore to upgrade basic agricultural infrastructure and for modernisation, processing, horticulture, etc, during the two-day Global Agri-Business and Food Processing Summit from December 1 here.

Speaking at a recent event to announce the event, the Chief Minister, Mr D.V. Sadananda Gowda, said the summit aims to increase the income of the farming community through increased agricultural output and ensure sustainable agri-activities. To enable this, it is important to develop basic agricultural infrastructure. It is also essential to develop food processing units along with agri-based industries.

“A special purpose vehicle — Karnataka Agri-Business Development Board — has been set up to supervise the process of agri-business investment,” said Mr Gowda. Other opportunities identified are dry-land farming, branding, development of fish ports and co-ordination between producers and consumers.

Eco-friendly cultivation

According to the Chief Minister, dry-land development project and watershed projects will help preserve water and prevent soil erosion, and lead to adoption of cultivation system suitable to those ends. 

The Karnataka Government has submitted a memorandum to the Government of India to release an aid of Rs 723.24 crore in addition to deputing a team for study of drought in the State. The State Government has already initiated steps for rehabilitation programmes, such as providing more jobs to agricultural workers and supplying drinking water and fodder for cattle.

In a press statement, the Chief Minister also said fertile lands will not be acquired for the current Investors Summit. “For that purpose, the lands which are not suitable for agriculture are used under KIADB (Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board), KSIIDC (Karnataka State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd) and KSSIDC (Karnataka Small Scale Industries Development Corporation). Hence there is no need for misconception of farmers in this regard,” he added.

Farmers have voluntarily offered lands, however, in some places like Raichur district, he said, after understanding the benefits, such as price stabilisation and increased income through basic facilities, value addition to the produce, and installation of processing units and cold storages.

Pointing out that there was a misconception that the Government was trying to pledge the farmers' land to foreign companies through the Global Agro Investors Summit, Mr Gowda said the intention of the summit was to provide more basic facilities and “not to ignore the farmers' interest”.

He explained that for development of agriculture in the State, there was a need for mechanisation, competitive markets, controlled agriculture, etc.

“These technologies and services are available abroad and, therefore, steps are being taken for involving them for making investments,” he said, adding that foreigners will not be involved completely and there would be local partners, too.

Mr Gowda also said in the statement the Government had already planned several projects for stabilisation of rates, quality seeds, water supply, electricity supply and marketing facilities. From the current summit, about Rs 50,000-crore investments were expected for agriculture and related activities, he said.

A stable agricultural activity would lead to increase in productivity and thereby better income for farmers, development of basic agricultural facilities, development of food processing units along with agro-based industries, research, skill development and jobs, and all these would help increase the State's agricultural export, which would indirectly help drought rehabilitation, he explained.

Given the current challenges, apart from increasing yields, there is a need to reduce losses after harvest, create basic facilities, improve the marketing system, and use latest technology, he said. More capital is needed for these, and therefore, an Agricultural Marketing Development Policy 2011 was brought out, added Mr Gowda.

“This summit has been organised for implementation of the objectives of this policy,” he pointed out. Through this summit and by creation of basic facilities, “not only will there be value addition of the farmers' produce, but there will be more job opportunities in rural areas too”, he said.

Fewer suicides

According to the Chief Minister, farmer suicides were coming down year-on-year in the State.

“To prevent the cases of farmer suicides, the Government is implementing major projects such as distribution of sowing seeds at concessional rate, distribution of agricultural machine tools and minor irrigation units, agricultural loans at interest rate of 1 per cent in co-operative banks and 3 per cent in commercial banks, and implementation of projects ‘Bhoo-Chethana', ‘Suvarna-Bhoomi', etc,” he said.

Mr Gowda pointed out that the farmer will get a better price for his crops thereby increasing his income by processing of agricultural products, using organised cold storage and a well-organised market. “When basic facilities in rural areas are created, more employment opportunities are available and when there is a good environment, there will be no chance for farmer suicide,” he added.

Published on November 30, 2011

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