Time has come to prioritise agriculture: Vice-President

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Nov 2017 08:46:14

Staff Reporter,

We as a nation should hang our heads in shame for farmers’ suicides, says M Venkaiah Naidu

Agriculture, has recorded 12% positive growth in last three years, said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis

“Although agricultural production has increased and the country has benefited from it, tragically, the income of farmers has not appreciated in the same ratio and hence we are staring at an agrarian crisis. Admittedly, the focus that was needed on agriculture sector post Independence fell short,” said Vice-President of India M Venkaiah Naidu. Addressing the gathering after inaugurating Agro Vision’s ninth edition at Nagpur on Friday, he said that time has come to prioritise agriculture because it is the farmer whom we refer to as Annadata, and his plight could cost us all dear in future.

The Vice-President spoke on multi-pronged approach to resolve issues faced by the farmers. “We as a nation should hang our heads in shame as farmers are committing suicide. The biggest problem is that while industry can fix rate of their produce, the farmers cannot hence the role of the State is of primary importance to ensure that the cultivators get their due,” said the Vice-President.

It may be noted that ‘Agro Vision’, entral India’s biggest exhibition of agricultural products and machineries is being held at Reshimbagh ground in Nagpur. It was inaugurated Naidu. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was the guest of honour. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and convenor of Agro Vision, presided over. Maharashtra Ministers Pandurang Fundkar, Chandrashekhar Bawankule, Girish Mahajan and Mahadeo Jankar, MPMP from Ramtek, Krupal Tumane, President of Nagpur Zilla Parishad Nisha Sawarkar were seated on the dais.

Speaking further, Naidu said that it was trhe duty of the State to ensure that credit to farmers must be available at competitive rates. The farmers too should take advantage of new initiatives of Central Government regarding e-commerce to get better prices for their produce and also go for diversification, he added.

Earlier, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis termed Agro Vision as a festival of learning as farmers get enriched with newer ideas, are provided inputs of latest farming techniques that helps them in adapting to changes. Listing the achievement of State, he said the agriculture growth rate was in negative and has now reached 12 per cent within three years after forming the Government. He asked farmers to take advantage of State Government’s scheme for group farming, wherein Rs one crore aid is provided and also opt for organic farming. To ensure uninterrupted power supply for agricultural pumps, State has envisaged Agri Solar Feeder Scheme and two projects have been launched and target is to tap 400 MW of power. The State Government he said is committed to upliftment of farmers and take them on path of development.

At the outset, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari informed the gathering about the pro-farmers decision taken by Central Government to provide boost to local farmers, whereby it is decided to eliminate import of all agricultural produce so that domestic prices get a boost. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved a series of measures wherein the import duty on pulses and vegetable oil will be increased and also 50 per cent duty will be imposed on black pulses. The farmers too need to focus on improving the production and adapt of to newer techniques of farming and take help of experts to overcome challenges of climate change,” he said.

On policy initiatives he said a Rs 6,000 crore World Bank aided programme was being readied to upgrade Irrigation network in key agricultural States of the country, including that of Maharashtra. Similarly, through the inter-river connectivity the water scarcity of Marathwada and Northern Maharashtra region would be overcome and the project itself is worth Rs 25,000 crore. On the occasion Gadkari applauded the Jalyukta Shivar, the flagship scheme of Maharashtra Government, which he said is one of the best in country.

Talking about Gosikhurd, Gadkari said it would be finally completed by year 2019 and it would change the face of Eastern Vidarbha and also bring about change in fortune of farmers in the region. Making a bold statement, the Union Water Resources Minister said working in partnership with Maharashtra Government the irrigation potential of State would be doubled to 40 per cent from current 22 per cent by end of 2019. About his pet project, Agro Vision he said it is a growth engine for farmer and aimed at changing the picture of Vidarbha and to bring in prosperity. At the outset, Ravi Boratkar made the introductory remarks.