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“Expertise cross-pollination must to double farmers’ incomes,” says Singh
Saturday, 15 July, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
Agriculture and farmers’ welfare minister Radha Mohan Singh stated at the National Summit on Smart Agriculture Marketing Solutions to Double the Farmers’ Incomes, organised at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) that only through the cross-pollination of expertise and innovations, and thereafter, synergy during the implementation of the programmes conceived would the goal set by prime minister Narendra Modi of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022 by achieved.

Representatives from such states as Rajasthan, Haryana, Assam, Goa, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Bihar also participated in the conference, at which Singh said, “As per the Third Advance Estimates, the food grain production in the country had increased to 273 million tonne (MT) in 2016-17, oil seeds to 32.5MT, and sugarcane to 306MT.”

He added that fruit and vegetable production had increased to 287MT, according to the Second Advance Estimates. Singh informed that there had been a record production of foodgrains in 2016-17, and all previous records were broken. He added, “Farmers have not been getting the corresponding increase in remuneration.”

“The government is sensitive to the urgent need to strengthen market dynamics to reduce post-harvest losses to enable farmers to tide over both situations of bumper production, leading to a glut, and abrupt price fall and incidences of less production, resulting in the availability of meagre marketable surplus,” the minister stated.

Singh said the approach adopted encompassed both adoptions of cost-effective production and diversifying agriculture towards the growth of high-value crops, agroforestry, rearing of livestock, poultry, fisheries, etc., and the creation of accessible and efficient markets to ensure better price realisation to the farmers through a robust value supply chain.

“We empathise with the farmers, and for that purpose, we have formulated farmer welfare-centric programmes and policies, which is equally related to food security and price security,” he added.

Singh said, “In order to address the constraints of the present agricultural marketing system promoted by the agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) and assure accessible marketing facilities to farmers, the Centre has shared a corrective reform with the states, and we have been able to move faster on this front in the last two or three years, since the circulation of the Model APMC Act, 2003 to the states.”

The minister stated, “The Model Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017 was released to the states on April 24 this year, and has received a positive response regarding its adoption from all states.”

Singh said, “My ministry is seized with the consolidation of the mandis integrated by way of total transition to online bidding and payments, so that the envisaged benefits reach both the farmers and traders.”

“The aim is to bring markets closer to the farms along with appropriate storage, grading and sorting facilities to reduce transportation costs, distress sale and the number of intermediaries, so that farmers can get a larger share,” he added.

Singh said, “An important step that states could take in this regard is the declaration of the warehouses, silos, cold storages, etc. as market sub-yards, so that the farmers can store surpluses and sell directly without having to transport the produce to the APMC yard.”

He said the government was in talks with the Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) regarding synergy with the former’s programmes, so the farmers can also avail pledge financing against the produce stored in scientific WDRA-compliant warehouses.
 
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