Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Agriculture is the backbone of Indian economy and the Centre is giving priority to the sector, said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar while takling on the ‘impact on agriculture and farmers due to the pandemic’ virtually during the 12th edition of Odisha Television Limited’s annual convention, ‘Foresight 2022 on Friday.

“Whenever the economy of the country is in jeopardy, the agriculture sector has always uplifted it. Same was the case during Covid times. Our farmers worked very hard during the lockdown period. The Union government also increased the number of procurement centers and our farmers reaped bumper production,” said Tomar.

“Our farmers have the capacity to step up during any kind of difficult situation. We are committed to the farmers’ upliftment in the country. Because of their hard work India is now among the top 10 countries in the world which are exporting agricultural products. We need to develop further and to be among the best five countries we have to focus on quality production,” said the Minister.

As per Tomar, farmers need assistance for better production and 10,000 new Farmers Producer Organisation (FPO) are in the offing for which Rs 6,865 crore will be invested.

“Work in this direction has already been started and the farmers will reap its benefit very soon. The centre is also focusing on the use of modern technology including drone technology to help the farmers. Infrastructure funding of Rs one lakh crore has been allocated for the sector under Atma Nirbhar Bharat scheme.  Similarly Rs 15,000 crore, Rs 20,000 crore, Rs 500 crore, Rs 4,000 crore have been allocated for animal husbandry, bee culture, fishery, food processing and herbal farming sectors, respectively. Moreover, Rs 1.5 lakh crore have been allocated for agriculture allied activities,” said Tomar.

As per the Minister, the Union government is fully committed to doubling the income of the farmers and they have to use the infrastructure and technology properly for achieving success.

“Use of technology, Government of India schemes and implementation by State governments will be the key factors to double income of farmers,” said Tomar.

“The challenge before us is to reduce the cost of investment of farmers. We also have to ensure that they should use proper technology and get the proper price for their products. We have to attract youth to the sector,” he said.

The Minister also emphasised on resorting to natural farming by using less amount of chemical fertiliser to maintain the balance and fertility of soil.