'COVID crisis shows Indian farmers capable of overcoming any difficult situation'

Amid the Coronavirus pandemic, Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar called upon scientists to contribute in increasing agricultural production and mitigate difficulties.

Increasing private investment in the field of agriculture will help increase prosperity in the agriculture sector, which in turn will boost self-reliance and prosperity in the country, Union Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has said.

Tomar called upon scientists to contribute in increasing agricultural production and mitigate difficulties. He was speaking at an international webinar organised by Ch Charan Singh University, Meerut and a national webinar organised by Junagadh Agricultural University on Saturday, .

In the webinar organised by the Meerut University, Tomar said in foodgrain production, India is not only self-sufficient but also surplus. Farmers have demonstrated that they are capable of dealing with difficult challenges, he said.

To deal with the growing population of the country which is expected to reach 160 crore by the year 2050, plant breeders and scientists in India are faced with the challenge of increasing production of quality foodgrains and providing enough nutritional food to all Indians by undertaking progressive farming to develop disease-resistant and pest-resistant varieties that require less area and are able to grow in unfavourable conditions like dry climate, high temperature, saline and acidic soils, the minister said in a release.

Bio-fortification strategy must also be used to develop high quality crop varieties having high protein, iron, zinc etc. nutritional content. For this, plant breeders have to use latest biotechnology methods in addition to traditional methods of farming, he added.

Tomar said that in connection with attracting private investment in the agriculture sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a provision of Rs.1 lakh crore for developing agricultural infrastructure.

Emphasising on soil health testing and appealed for creating awareness about this, Tomar said, similar provisions have also been announced for the fisheries, animal husbandry, bee-farming, herbal farming, food processing etc, sectors.

In the webinar organised by Junagadh Agricultural University, the Union agriculture minister stressed on achieving better farm production with less water.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that unless the villages do not become self-reliant, the country cannot prosper. To strengthen the rural economy, agriculture has to prosper and also its sister concerns. When this happens, the country will be able to face all other challenges.

Tomar said during the Coronavirus crisis when the wheels of the world economy had slowed down, the Indian farmers produced a bumper crop with the resources available in the rural areas, crop harvesting continued at normal pace during the lockdown, crop production was more than last year and sowing of kharif crops has also been 45 per cent more than last year. This shows the resilience of our villages and farmers.

Tomar said the PM-Kisan scheme alone is allotted more budget than the whole agriculture budget previously. He also stressed on linking more and more farmers to the 10,000 new Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) whose formation has been announced recently.

First Published:June 14, 2020, 2:25 p.m.