Modi backs convergence of agro-schemes

Modi backs convergence of agro-schemes

A two-day conference on agriculture here has suggested convergence of various farm schemes undertaken by different ministries to boost production across the country.

The suggestion found instant support from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who urged state governments to incorporate the same while drawing up road maps for agriculture development.

Addressing the concluding session of the National Conference on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmers Welfare here, Modi also said the annual budgets of state governments should reflect the recommendations made by the five technical groups after two days of deliberations.

Among the key suggestions include dovetailing the rural jobs scheme MGNREGA with the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana to create irrigation facilities for every farm, an electoral promise of the BJP. Suggestions were also made for creation and rejuvenation of traditional and other water bodies through MNREGA.

The suggestions come at a time when the farmers are reeling under the impact of two successive droughts and fall in global prices of farm produce, impact of which is also felt in the country.

Only on Sunday, Ramesh Chand, member (agriculture), NITI Aayog had cautioned that if international agri-product prices did not increase in 2016-17 agriculture could face a deeper crisis.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byregowda shared the success story of the state in ushering in APMC reforms to create a unified market for agri commodities.

“Post-APMC reforms, farmers have got better prices for their produce. There was 40 per cent increase in prices of green gram and groundnut, while copra prices doubled resulting in better recovery for farmers,” Byregowda said.

The Prime Minister also declared Sikkim as the country’s first organic state by saying that rest of the country should take steps reducing excessive use of chemical fertilizer.

Since 2003, the hill state has embarked on a mission to convert around 75,000 hectares of agricultural land into organic farming mode by stopping chemical fertilizers and pesticides and eliminating existing subsidies to farmers for procurement of chemical pesticide. In 2003, Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling passed a resolution in the state Assembly, aiming at making the Himalayan state completely organic, and subsequently banned synthetic fertilisers and pesticides. Sikkim mostly produces maize, paddy, cardamom and oranges.

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