Need to intensify efforts towards enhancing farm productivity and connecting with markets: Agri Minister

Crop insurance has so far allowed for the payment of a claim for Rs 122,000 crore. However, it does not make up for the farmers' laborious efforts, the minister said
Need to intensify efforts towards enhancing farm productivity and connecting with markets: Agri Minister
Need to intensify efforts towards enhancing farm productivity and connecting with markets: Agri Minister

Addressing a national conference on enhancing farm productivity, Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India said that the agriculture sector is crucial for food security and that, as a result, efforts must be made to boost the farm productivity and connect it to as widespread markets as much as possible.

According to Tomar, the agricultural industry is the foundation of the Indian economy. He said, “During the Covid-19 pandemic, our agriculture sector demonstrated that it could support the nation strongly even in trying circumstances. It has not only been able to meet our country’s food needs, but also those of other friendly nations.

Tomar was addressing the concluding session of a national conference ‘Enhancing Agricultural Productivity: Integration of Improved Seeds & Agri Inputs’ organised by ASSOCHAM) in New Delhi today.

According to Tomar, the government is beginning to evaluate agricultural output digitally. “It normally happens that the majority of farmers start producing the same agricultural produce when the price of any agricultural produce is high on the market,” he said. As a result of the excess output, prices decline in the next season. The farmers are discouraged as a result. To prevent this, the government has placed a strong emphasis on the Digital Agriculture Mission, allowing farming practises in various regions to be evaluated using cutting-edge technologies. In this method, all data will be gathered by satellites, and agricultural practices will be monitored.

The conference attendees were also made aware of organic farming by the agriculture minister. He claimed that consumers around the world prefer agricultural items produced organically. Although the nation has exported these agricultural goods, more work is still required in this field. “To guarantee that agriculture is linked to the market and sustain the gain in farm productivity, all key stakeholders must collaborate.”

He added that the government has offered crop insurance coverage to aid farmers in such a situation because they, particularly the smallholders, suffer losses as a result of unseasonal rains. Crop insurance under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has so far allowed for the payment of a claim for Rs 122,000 crore. However, he continued, it does not make up for the farmers’ laborious efforts, thus the difficulty must also be taken into account.

The agriculture minister stated that additional difficulties faced by farmers include changes in the cost of agricultural goods and the distance between farms and markets. He disclosed that actions have been done to discover solutions. The government has connected 1,000 agricultural mandis, which include dealers and farmers among others, with the e-National Agriculture Market (eNAM).

Tomar claimed that because there are more small farmers, the government has established farmer producer organisations (FPOs), for which a budgetary provision of Rs 6,835 crore has been created. “Farmers should work together to cultivate land, enhance product quality, obtain fair prices, and process their produce. This enables the establishment of even small industries at the grassroot level in the villages.

The government has launched the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) with an investment of Rs 11,000 crore and is collaborating closely with agricultural scientists and the industry to boost farm productivity. For the purpose of establishing agricultural infrastructure and utilities from village to village, a provision of Rs 100,000 crore has been established under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF).

Speaking at the event, Deepak Sood, Secretary General of ASSOCHAM, said that we place the biggest significance on having self-sufficient agriculture. “If the nation wants to be self-reliant, then it is crucial to be so in the agricultural sector,” he stated. “After the Covid-19- pandemic, economic activity has started to increase again, which is very significant for the country’s economic prosperity,” he continued.

Food security is a global concern, according to Jai Shroff, global CEO of UPL and chairman of ASSOCHAM’s National Committee on Agriculture and Farming Inputs. He said, “Food security is a big opportunity for all farmers, businesses, and governments, but it is also a major challenge. Better technology will enable us to provide our farmers with the tools they need to prosper under any circumstance.

The necessity of sustainable farming practices in raising agricultural output was emphasised by Vivek Chandra, Chairman of ASSOCHAM‘s Food Processing and Value Addition Council. He said that in order to achieve this, farmers, consumers, and processors must all work together.

Asgar Naqvi, Partner, Government and Public Sector Adviser, Nangia Andersen, spoke at the event and highlighted the need for the best agricultural inputs for better outputs. Additionally, a report was released on this pertaining subject regarding this. Raju Kapoor from FMC India, Sangeeta Mendiratta from Bayer, and Dr. Ratna Kumria from the Federation of Seed Industry in India (FSII) also took part in the event and shared their perspectives.

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