The government is seriously mulling on bringing in a viable insurance scheme for the farmers and along with this recently launched government programme of Pradhan Mantri Krishi SinchaiYojana, Soil Health Card Scheme, Prampragat Krishi VikasYojana, proposed national agricultural market scheme will revolutionarise agriculture in years to come, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said in New Delhi on Thursday.
He was speaking at National Dialogue on “Innovative Extension System for Farmers Empowerment and Welfare.” He said that the government is strengthening the extension infrastructure to new develop from lab to marginal farmer. Agriculture is a State subject and as per the state requirements respective Governments are initiating their programmes but Government of India has always been supporting the States with relevant schemes and other strategic information and advisory for success of agriculture sector, he said.
The Minister said that the extension is lacking infrastructure to reach the individual farmers (14 crore farmer families) and thus, looking into it, long awaited demand of the farmers have been fulfilled by starting a 24 hours Kisan Channel by the Prime Minister. The extension is expected to provide information for production, protection, post-harvest, value addition, marketing, insurance, credit and other information related to the farmers regarding availability of inputs, weather, etc.
Besides food security, nutritional security has been a concern and this has to be appropriately dealt, Singh said. Currently, one third of global production is lost or wasted annually which is enough to feed two billion people for a year. “Most food loss takes place in post-production, harvesting, transportation and storage. This is a huge loss on account of economy, environmental and societal significance. Around 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger, under nutrition remains wide spread with some two billion people lacking essential nutrients like iron, zinc and vitamin A,” he added.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that world food production must rise 60% to keep pace with demographic change. Whereas International Panel on Climate Change( IPCC) predicts that crop yields may decline by 10-20 percent by 2050.
Rising temperature are predicted to reduce catches of the world main fish species by 40 percent and live-stock contributes nearly 2/3 of agriculture’s green house.
The Minister said that the soils are getting endangered by different ways which include imbalanced fertilizer, growing of exhaustive crops, non-inclusion of leguminous crops in the cropping systems and reducing organic carbon in the soil. As the holdings are getting smaller, the farmers need models which could ensure food security as well as regular flow of income from their land, he added.