Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh underlined the importance of fundamentals of agricultural growth for the development of country. He mentioned that improved soil health, high productive seeds, modern agriculture practices, effective irrigation facilities, water to every agricultural land, apt marketing facilities for agricultural produce are essential points for development of agriculture as a whole.
The minister was addressing Assocham’s 7th Agricultural Summit in New Delhi. The theme of the summit was ‘Agri@8%- Challenges and Way out’, setting a target of 8 percent agricultural growth as against of today’s 4 percent.
The union minister emphasised on the need to create awareness among farmers about best practices in the agriculture sector. He urged students and scientist fraternity from agriculture to create awareness among farmers of at least one village of their hometown about various initiatives in agriculture voluntarily with the theme of ‘Mera Gaon, Mera Gaurav’.
Mentioning Pradhan Mantri Sinchai Yojana, Singh said that the programme will play a vital role in bringing water to every agricultural land in the country. He added that Soil Health Cards provided to farmers will be a tool to identify the nutritional requirement of the soil and apt laboratory analysis for increasing the agriculture production and productivity. He emphasised on the use of organic fertilisers and traditional farming practices.
Singh spoke about e-Marketing of agriculture products especially horticulture produce like lichi, mango, guava and emphasised that horticulture, dairy and fishery has potential to generate huge employment for farmers, especially youth.
The minister said that the second Green Revolution will take place in the eastern states of the country which have abundant of water. Cautioning about the negative impact of using high volume chemical fertilisers since first Green Revolution in Haryana and Punjab, he emphasised on the use of bio-fertilisers.
Addressing the summit, Narendra Singh, Minister of Agriculture of Bihar urged the industry to set up sugar factories in Bihar as the State produces premier quality of sugarcane. He said that the Government of Bihar has set the country’s second sugarcane research institute and urged the Union Agriculture Minister to upgrade the institute. Since the beginning of Nitish Government, we have created a ‘Krishi Road Map’ for the growth of agriculture, he said.
“Only increasing agricultural productivity is not the solution, there is a need to utilise the agricultural waste into husk power, biogas, bio-fertiliser and in various other means so that the farmers can get good return,” the Agriculture Minister of Bihar further said.
Urging the industries to set up agribusiness industries in the State, he said, “We have created separate feeder for power supply to the agriculture sector. Within three months, 24×7 power supply will happen. We have improved law and order situation and have built good road infrastructure in the State.”
Addressing the summit, Ajit Kumar, Vice Chancellor, National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) said, “To get a growth of 8-10 percent in the agriculture sector, we need to change the mindset that the sector is not a business. There are lakhs of tracts of land are classified as waste land due to low rainfall. We need to convert these lands into agricultural land. Millet and sorghum can be grown in these drylands which have better protein than other crops. It would provide nutritional security to the nation.” He further emphasised on the use of water in the scientific manner.
He urged the private sector to set up primary processing centres in the villages which need big investment. He said that the Government alone cannot provide such a huge resource, thus the private sector should come in.
The speakers in the summit focused on various discussion points during the programme included efficient system of agricultural production, storage and distribution of food products, soil mapping, efficient water management, increasing yield and variety of crops, traditional farming, awareness building among farmers, balanced use of fertilisers, organic farming among a number of perspectives.