The Government is working towards increasing farmers’ income and that’s the reason the budget for Agriculture has been increased from Rs.51,576 crore in 2017-18 to Rs.58,080 crore for the year 2018-19, while ensuring sufficient funds for each component of the Seven-Point' Strategy devised for doubling farmers’ income. This was stated by Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Radha Mohan Singh while addressing the National Conference, “Agriculture 2022 - Doubling Farmers’ Income’’.
The inaugural session of the summit was attended by the Governor of Himachal Pradesh, Shri Acharya Devvrat; NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Shri Rajiv Kumar; Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Farmers' Welfare & Panchayati Raj, Shri Parshottam Rupala; Minister of State Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat; Minister of State Smt. Krishna Raj; and Shri S.K. Pattanayak, Secretary, Department of Agriculture. Organized at the NASC Complex at Pusa in New Delhi, the summit is being attended by senior officials of the Central and State Governments, scientists, economists, trade industry, professional associations, representatives of corporate and private sector companies & farmers, NGOs and academics.
Shri Radha Mohan Singh said that apart from keeping the food and agricultural products warehouses well stocked, the Government is keen to see farmers prosper and is working diligently to achieve the same. He further said that in this budget, an announcement of Rs. 2000 crore for Agri Market Development Fund has been allocated, which shows the importance of the retail market in agriculture marketing. These markets are GRAM (Gramin Retail Agriculture Market). Through these markets infrastructure of 22,000 Rural Haats and 585 APMC markets will be developed.
The Minister said that as promised by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Government had started forming a committee in April 2016 to implement a comprehensive plan to double the income of farmers. The Committee included senior economists, Joint Secretaries of food processing, crop, Animal Husbandry and Dairy and Policy Departments; Agricultural Advisor to NITI Aayog and many other non-official members. The Government is keen to make agriculture policies and programs 'income centric' instead of 'production-oriented'.
To achieve this ambitious objective, as suggested by Hon'ble Prime Minister, the emphasis is on adopting a multi-dimensional seven-point' strategy, which includes:
- Emphasis on irrigation along with end to end solution on creation of resources for ‘More crop per drop'
- Provision of quality seeds and nutrients according to the soil quality of each farm.
- Large investments in warehouses and cold chains to prevent Post-harvest losses.
- Promotion of value addition through food processing.
- Implementation of National Agricultural Markets and e-platforms (e-NAM) to eliminate shortcomings of all the 585 centers.
- To mitigate the risk, introduction of crop insurance scheme at a lower cost.
- Promotion of allied activities such as Dairy-Animal Husbandry, Poultry, Bee-keeping, Horticulture, and Fisheries.
The Agriculture Minister stated that in a huge country like India with wide economic disparities, it is a challenge to ensure the physical and economic access to the basic good to far-flung remote areas.
During 2014-15, the government's favourable policies, effective plans, and implementations have yielded satisfactory results. He further said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the Government has started developing 'Climate Smart Agriculture' through a national-level project under which farmers are being made aware and capable of adopting climate-friendly farming techniques.
Therefore this two-days’ National Conference will make the deliberations purposeful and solution oriented and it is hoped that the sharp recommendations will be implementable, which will offer solutions to the farmers and move towards the doubling of farmers’ income by 2022.