Amid agrarian distress, Modi highlights success stories

Amid agrarian distress, Modi highlights success stories

Interacting with farmers from over 600 districts via video conferencing, Modi said the four cornerstones of the government policy for raising farm income are cutting input cost, fair price for the crop, preventing the produce from rotting and creating alt

Amid the wide-ranging protests by farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sought to paint a rosy picture of the agrarian sector by highlighting success stories of some progressive agriculturists.

Interacting with farmers across 600 districts through video conferencing, the prime minister also assured them that his government was committed to double farmers' income by 2022 and had substantially increased the budget for the farm sector.

However, Modi's 90-minute interaction with farmers did not touch upon issues troubling the sector such as falling prices of farm produce but was focussed on sending a message that the initiatives his government had taken during the last four years had actually helped the ryots.

“When we said we want to double farmers’ incomes, we were sneered at us saying it was not possible. People also tried to demoralise us, but we believed that Indian farmers were willing to take risk…,” Modi said.

Modi said his government was working on a four-pronged strategy for doubling farmers income. “The first is to lower the input cost for agriculture. The second is to ensure that agrarian produce gets the right price. The third is to reduce wastage and the fourth is to provide alternative means of income to farmers,” he said.

Modi said India achieved record production of foodgrains, cereals and pulses in the last four years and that it was due to the effort of farmers.

“In the last four years of the UPA government, foodgrain production touched 250 million tonnes, but in 2017-18 we have achieved a production of 280 million tonnes, which is a new record,” Modi said.

Nearly 24 progressive farmers, carefully selected from nine states, narrated success stories about how the government's policies had helped them increase their income substantially in a short span of time.

Farmers from the tribal-dominated region of Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh narrated how they benefited from the custom hiring scheme to promote mechanised farming, while women farmers from Chhattisgarh described how they increased their income by processing the perishable produces such as custard apples cultivated in the region.

Farmers from Ramanagara in Karnataka spoke about how compensation from the Prime Ministers's Crop Insurance Scheme helped them tide over the losses faced due to drought. Another farmer spoke about the increase in horticulture produce after soil testing for appropriate use of fertilisers.

Women from Solapur in Maharashtra described their experiences in setting up farmer producer organisation in the region that was helping them deliver pulses from the farms to the consumers.

Farmers from Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh took part in the interaction.