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The Centre has informed that the Annual Kharif National Conference will be held on April 16, 2020 through video conferencing to firm up the field preparations for ensuing approaching Kharif season. Speaking at meeting with agriculture ministers and senior officials of the states through video conferencing in New Delhi on Wednesday evening, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar urged the states to make advance preparations for all the logistics and be prepared for the conference.
Ministers of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, special secretaries, additional secretary (Agriculture) and senior officers of the ministry participated in the interaction.
The crucial issues related to farming operations and harvesting, agriculture marketing and mandi operations, procurement at minimum support price (MSP), provision of inputs like seeds and fertilisers along with issues related to logistics and movement of agriculture and horticulture produce were discussed with agriculture ministers of the states, secretaries and other senior officers of the states.
The Union Minister appreciated the efforts of states for their proactive role in undertaking agriculture activities even during the challenging time in wake of COVID-19 pandemic. He talked about the measures taken by the ministry to facilitate the activities related to agriculture and allied sectors during the lockdown period. Also, the exemptions notified by the Central government for agricultural operations in view of harvesting and sowing season were discussed in length. The states were again informed about the various exemptions which are as follows:
Through a presentation, the Agriculture Ministry urged the states;
- To sensitise their field agencies for facilitating smooth farming operations including sowing, harvesting and marketing.
- To ensure expeditious permission for movement of staff and labour and goods, machines and materials of agencies engaged in these exempted categories of activities.
- To issue authorisation letters to companies and organisations having nation-wide supply chain of essential goods, allowing them to issue regional passes for easy movement of critical staff and workers in order to maintain their national supply chain.
- While undertaking these activities the norms of ‘social distancing’ should be followed and proper hygiene and sanitation should be ensured at all public places.
The Agriculture minister assured the states that all the necessary help and support would be rendered to the states during this period which would facilitate them in facing the emerging challenges.
The state agriculture ministers expressed that the exemption provided for agriculture operations and activities had greatly helped the farmers and farming activities in the states.
It was informed that the ministry has released e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) modules to enable the e-trading and bidding from source point by farmers, farmer producer organisations (FPOs) and cooperatives. states may issue necessary instructions to give effect to the same which would facilitate the farmers in selling their produce at their doorsteps, ensuring availability of produce at consumption centers and decongesting mandis. Similarly, the intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture and horticulture implements should be facilitated so that all states may benefit from the machineries.
During the discussion, various issues were raised regarding harvesting procurement, availability of inputs, credit, insurance and inter-state movement of agriculture produce, some of which were solved at once and instructions were passed on to the states. Other issues which required deliberations were noted and states were assured that it would be looked into and necessary instructions would follow in due course.