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These Structural Changes will make Agriculture Resilient, Sustainable & Profitable: VP

Tooba Maher
Tooba Maher

The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has inaugurated Agri-Vision 2019, a two-day conference on ‘Envisioning Agro Solutions for Smart and Sustainable Agriculture’ at Hyderabad. 

He called for the introduction of structural changes through policy interventions to bring in a positive bias towards agriculture and make it resilient, sustainable and profitable. 

Naidu stressed the need for a concerted action from all stakeholders to find comprehensive, long-term solutions to the multiple challenges faced by the agriculture sector. Short-term measures like loan waiver would provide temporary relief and would not be beneficial to the farmer in the long run.  

He expressed his concern over the tendency of farmers to leave agriculture and said that lack of favorable terms of trade, the vagaries of monsoon, technology not reaching farmers in time and absence of proper marketing system were some of the reasons for agrarian problems. 

He said major challenges confronting Indian agriculture includes declining productivity, diminishing and degrading natural resources, rapidly growing demand for food, stagnating farm incomes, fragmented land holdings, and unprecedented climate change.  

According to him, traditional farming would not be beneficial and the farmer needs to diversify into allied activities to ensure sustained income. The growth of the agriculture sector was critically important for inclusive growth. Empowering the sector would not only reduce poverty but also helps in improving the livelihoods of lakhs of people connected to this sector.  

He further added, Agriculture sector accounts for 18% of India’s GDP and provides employment to 50% of the workforce of the country. There is a need to accord top priority to farmer-oriented marketing, providing adequate cold storage facilities and refrigerator vans, focusing on food processing through value addition, extending timely and affordable credit to farmers and ensuring that innovations and technologies reach the farmers.  

Naidu urged researchers and farm experts to come out with solutions to the multi-dimensional problems faced by the farming sector. He called for united efforts by governments, scientific community, Krishi Vigyan Kendras, and farmers to realize the ambitious goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. 

He suggested that students pursuing agri courses must spend at least six months with farmers to have a firsthand understanding of the problems faced by the farmers. Digital technologies could help in countering vagaries in farming and optimizing the resources. It was necessary to adopt the latest technologies from seeds to post harvest management to marketing and to improve productivity on par with the other leading nations. 

There is a need for India to have its own home-grown food security as the country cannot depend on imported food security, said the Vice President. 

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