The state government will have to release Rs 500 crore to cotton farmers who have lost their crops due to whitefly attack. The companies sold their produce such as seeds and pesticides, but could not save the crops of bt cotton from whitefly. Now, the government has to compensate the farmers across the state with a big money. The private companies who sell their inputs to the farmers, have to compensate the farmers in such a scenario. Haryana Agriculture Minister, Om Prakash Dhankar said in New Delhi today.
The minister was speaking in a seminar on ‘Agriculture in Haryana: Converting challenges into opportunities,’ organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). Highlighting the challenges in agriculture in Haryana, he said, due to absence of experts and consultants, the government ends up paying huge amount of money to farmers who have lost their crop due to insect attack or natural calamities.
“Government has its limitation, it cannot hire consultants and experts as we cannot pay huge salaries, had there been a consultant government would not have to pay Rs 600 crore to sugarcane farmers due to their crop losses and low prices paid by the sugar mills,” said Dhankar. The minister said that sugar mill owners should take the responsibility of welfare of sugarcane farmers as they are the part of their chain.
“Similarly, basmati rice exporters should ensure that rice farmers get best price for their produce, this is required to take the agriculture sector forward,” said Dhankar.
“It is the responsibility of the one at the top of the chain to ensure the welfare of people at the extreme end of the chain,” he added.
Highlighting the challenges being faced by agriculture sector in Haryana and across the country, the minister said, “Land ownership issue is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the agriculture sector as tenant farmers do not get any compensation.”
Sharing concerns over loss of soil fertility due to excessive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides and also due to burning of agriculture waste, Dhankar said, “Hardly 20 per cent organic material is left in our soil, we are reaching an optimum level. There is need to use organic manure along with agro chemicals in judicious manner to conserve the soil.”
He also said that Haryana needs to promote water conservation in a mission mode across the state.
“The canal system is primitive and ends up eating one-third of the entire water, we need to reconstruct the entire system as such we need to upgrade technology and introduce modern techniques like micro-irrigation system that can help conserve water,” said the minister.
“Water recycling and recharging needs to be promoted even in the urban areas, cities as per-capita water consumption is about 150 litres at urban centres as against 50 litres at rural centre,” he added.
On the issue of absence of crop management, the minister said, “We need to develop an efficient system of crop and crop marketing management system and need to strike a balance.”
Sharing concerns over wastage due to poor post harvest losses, Dhankar said, “Modern technologies related to cold storage, food processing, drying and others need to be promoted to minimise post harvest crop losses.”
He also said that state government is working towards increasing the dairy production across Haryana.
The Haryana agriculture minister said that agricultural products produced across the State be it dairy, wheat, rice and others would be promoted and sold as branded products which will spread prosperity across state’s farmers community.
Dhankar also hailed the Centre’s new crop insurance scheme and said it will prove to be highly beneficial for the farmers across the country.