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EVENTS

Agri minister inaugurates National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif
Friday, 28 April, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
The two-day National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign–2017, which concluded in New Delhi recently, was inaugurated by Radha Mohan Singh, minister of agriculture and farmers’ welfare and addressed by Parshottam Rupala and Sudarshan Bhagat, ministers of state for agriculture and farmers’ welfare.

The conference was attended by the secretary, department of agriculture, cooperation and farmers’ welfare, besides agriculture production commissioners, principal secretaries, secretaries, directors of the state departments of agriculture, horticulture and agriculture marketing, senior scientists from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and other officials from relevant ministries and agencies.

In his inaugural address, Singh applauded efforts of the Central and state governments in attaining an estimated record production of about 272 million metric tons (MMT) of foodgrains and 33.6 million metric tons of oilseeds.

He referred to the expected quantum jump in the production of pulses, which is estimated at a record-breaking 22.14 million metric tons as per the Second Advance Estimates.

Singh pointed out to the encouraging first stage forecast of the south-west monsoon during Kharif 2017 and exhorted the states to make all necessary arrangements of agricultural inputs for our farmers.

He stressed on the commitment of the government to double the income of farmers by 2022, and the initiatives taken by the Centre towards this end.

A roadmap has been prepared to scale up pulses production to 24 MMT by 2021. Singh complimented the states that have achieved the target of delivery of soil health cards to all farmers and exhorted the others to complete the first phase in the next two to three months.

Singh pointed out that the second cycle of the Soil Health Card scheme will commence in May 2017. Referring to the growing popularity of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), he hoped that the states will expand the coverage further this year.

He encouraged the states to implement the Paramparagat Krishi Yojana in a mission mode to promote organic farming, particularly in the rain-fed and hilly areas. He reiterated the need to introduce marketing reforms in the agriculture sector to enable farmers a better price realisation.

Rupala highlighted the achievements made under the flagship schemes of the department and made a particular reference to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which was launched during Kharif 2016.

Under this new scheme, comprehensive risk coverage from pre-sowing to post-harvest losses has been provided. He exhorted the states to leverage technology in the implementation of the scheme and achieve the targets for insurance coverage of 40 per cent and 50 per cent of the total cropped area/farmers in 2017-18 and 2019-20, respectively.

Bhagat stated that it was absolutely imperative that all flagship schemes of the governments are given the highest priority to bring about material improvements in the lives of our farmers.

Shobhana K Pattanayak, agriculture secretary, pointed out the multi-pronged strategy needed to double farmers’ incomes by 2022. He laid particular emphasis on initiatives to reduce the cost of production, bridging the yield gaps in productivity and ensuring better price realisation for our farmers. He particularly emphasised the necessity for adoption of technology in this regard.

Eight groups have been formed for in-depth discussion on the following topics:
  • Market reforms – Introduction of contract farming, effective role of the electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) and inter-market trading on the e-NAM platform
  • Sustainability of pulses production in the coming season
  • Best mechanisation practices to avoid burning of straw
  • Utilisation of a corpus fund under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY)
  • Doubling of farmers’ incomes based on paper circulated by Ramesh Chand, member, NITI Aayog
  • Making the north-eastern and Himalayan states powerhouses of horticultural development – organic farming
  • Issues related to horticulture
  • Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana
 
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