Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare addresses National Kharif Conference via video conferencing

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The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar has announced that all States should aspire to attain the kharif goal and doubling of farmers’ income should be the goal now. Speaking at the National Conference on Kharif crops 2020 through video conference, he promised the States that the Government of India will eliminate any hurdle that the States are witnessing.

The main goal of the National Kharif Conference was to talk about different problems and mention steps in consultation with the States about preparation for Kharif cultivation in view of the lockdown situation.

Tomar said that the unprecedented situation due to the Coronavirus has to be met with positivity by the Agriculture sector and everyone has to contribute their bit.

He said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made sure that “Goan, Garib aur Kisan” (Village, Poor and Farmers) do not suffer in this crisis. Tomar requested the states that the two schemes, – PM Fasal Bima Yojana and Soil Health Card scheme, should be explained to each farmer.

The Minister informed the States that the All India Agri Transport Call Centre has been initiated to make sure that Agriculture is not hampered because of the lockdown. He also asked them to use e-NAM extensively. He also called upon the States to execute the Union Home Ministry exemptions and relaxations for Agriculture sector while ensuring social distancing and social responsibility norms.

The target of foodgrains production for the year 2020-21 has been fixed at 298.0 million tonnes. During the FY 2019-20, against the foodgrain production target of 291.10 million tonnes, higher production of about 292 million tonnes is anticipated mainly due to enhancement of area coverage and productivity of various crops.

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri Parshottam Rupala, while addressing participants of National Conference, said benefits of the PM Fasal Bima Yojana should be explained to the farmers. Shri Rupala said that agriculture and horticulture sector in our country has become a key driving element for economic development in many States. Besides having record foodgrains production last year (2018-19), country has also produced about 313.85 million metric tonnes of horticulture produce from an area of about 25.49 million hectare, which accounts for about 13 percent of the total world production of fruits. India is the second largest producer of vegetables, after China, he said.

In his address, the MoS (Agriculture) Shri Kailash Choudhary said that in the present situation of climatic change along with change in rainfall pattern, achieving record foodgrains production of about 285 million tonnes in 2018-19 which is further likely to increase to 292 million tonnes during 2019-20 is remarkable. All these were possible due to various technological advancements including varietal improvement as well as dedicated and coordinated efforts of Central and State Governments, he said.

Shri Sanjay Aggarwal, Secretary (Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare), in his concluding remarks, said that although our country has become food surplus, but still we have to accelerate the production and productivity of agriculture and horticulture sectors for ensuring food and nutritional security in the rural areas. He apprised the participants about major new initiatives taken by the Ministry for increasing production of crops and income of the farmers like intensification of “Per Drop More Crop” under flagship Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) by promotion of drip and sprinkler irrigation systems for improving water and fertilizer use efficiency, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), revised farmer friendly “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)”, e-NAM initiative to provide farmers an electronic online trading platform, intensification of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Yojana, introduction of Central Sector Scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Pension Yojana (PM-KPY), launching of PM-AASHA scheme to ensure MSP to farmers for oilseeds, pulses and crops, and Minimum Support Price (MSP) at a level of at least 2 times the cost of production along with various provisions for Direct Marketing in view of COVID-19 and advisory/Guidelines for agriculture management in the event of lockdown to ensure better economic return to the farmers.

Advisory/Guidelines have been released to the all States and relaxation given for movement of trucks/ vehicles loaded with seeds and fertilisers to ensure timely availability of such inputs at Village/Block levels across the country.

Special Secretaries, Additional Secretary (Agriculture) and senior officers from DAC&FW, ICAR and officers of different State Governments participated in the National Conference through video conferencing.