Addressing the G-20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in Berlin, Germany, Indian Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister, Radha Mohan Singh said that India would continue to extend support in early implementation of past commitments made at the G20 Agriculture Ministers Meetings, particularly on Research and Development, collaboration and knowledge transfer, action to combat food loss and waste, and information and communication technologies (ICT).
The Minister also supported the proposal of strengthening of AMIS and emphasised the importance of assessment of stocks and suggested sharing of best practices in this regard.
The Minister added that in India, ICT had proved to be an effective and powerful medium to disseminate information on agronomic practices, prices, fertiliser and pesticide use and weather and pest related advisories. Many new initiatives have been taken in order to develop an integrated approach for communication process in the agricultural sector. These include, launch of agricultural web portals, mobile applications and a dedicated broadcasting channel.
Moreover, with the objective to reform the agriculture marketing system in the country, a National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) portal has been launched which provides a pan-India electronic trading. This e-marketing platform is expected to help farmers in facilitating better price discovery through efficient, transparent and competitive marketing platform; better marketing of agricultural produce; reducing wastages; and getting market related information and with access to large number of buyers from within and outside the State through transparent auction processes.
Singh further said that in order to promote efficient irrigation practices in the country, a major irrigation programme was launched by the government in 2015 with emphasis on improving water-use efficiency through water conservation/ rainwater harvesting and use of micro-irrigation. The programme aims at providing end-to-end solutions in irrigation supply chain such as water sources, distribution network and farm level applications and extension services on new technologies and information. The programme is being implemented in a mission mode with aim of completing 99 major and medium irrigation projects with the capacity of 76.03 lakh hectare in a phased manner by December, 2019.
Singh said that the role of G20 economies in achieving the sustainable global food security had assumed significant importance and there is a growing consensus that the challenges of maintaining food and nutritional security need innovative solutions through collaborative and coordinated polices among the member as well as non-member countries.
The Minister said that the world economy had made strides in increasing the global food production, but the emerging challenges of increasing climate complexities, stress on natural resources, degrading soil heath and fragmentation of land holdings pose serious risks in sustaining this growth momentum. Other major issues particularly faced by the developing and under developed economies include poor marketing infrastructure, food losses and wastage, low coverage of institutional agricultural credit, and insuring farmers’ produce from frequent climatic variations. Singh said that the discussions on agriculture sector under the G20 German Presidency had rightly been focused on the increasing stress on natural resources.