Agri Budget focuses on Irrigation, Millet Farming

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Finance minister Pradip Amat on Friday presented a separate Agriculture budget of Rs 13,181.89 crore for the year 2016-17 that focuses on irrigation, millet farming and start-ups to promote agri-based industries in the State.

Presenting the agriculture budget Amat said, “Untimely and scanty rains have affected agricultural output across the State. We need to strengthen our irrigation system to protect our farm produce from these natural hazards….. For this, I propose to irrigate an additional 2.57 lakh hectares of land in 2016-17.”

“In the next five years, additional 5 lakh hectares of land will be irrigated,” stated the minister.

Mentioning that check dams are the real solutions to scanty rainfalls frequently experienced by the farmers’ community, Amat said the State government aims to construct an additional 4,000 check dams in the ensuing financial year.

“I propose to complete 213 small irrigation projects in the next five years,” the minister stated adding the agriculture budget outlay is 20.89% more than the corresponding budget of 2015-16 and 14.02% of the State’s 2016-17 budget.

While delivering his speech, the minster focused on millet farming in Odisha to increase production of cereal crops. Amat said millets are highly nutritious and have several health benefits.

“Millet farming, which needs less water in comparison to other crops, will be encouraged in tribal-dominated areas of the State,” he said.

For development of agri-based industries, the minister proposed setting up of a start-up fund in the agriculture budget.

To achieve reliance in fish and poultry production, Amat said, “Fish production in Odisha will be increased from 7.79 lakh tonne to 7.85 lakh tonne in 2016-17.”

Amat has proposed an allocation of Rs 100 crore for godowns for agricultural produce. Water Resources department has received a provision of Rs 7241.66 crore in the budget.

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