The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for making agriculture viable, profitable and sustainable to improve the lot of farmers and ensure home-grown food security.Inaugurating a two-day National Consultation on Making Agriculture Sustainable and Profitable at Vaikuntha Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Managemen, Pune in Maharashtra today, the Vice President said concerted, coordinated and focused action is required to double the farmers income in the coming years. The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, former Union Minister for Agriculture, Shri Sharad Pawar, renowned Agricultural Scientist, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, former Agriculture Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, Indian Agricultural Economist, Shri Ashok Gulati, several farm experts, farmers and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.Saying that evolving a multipronged strategy to make agriculture viable, profitable and sustainable was the main purpose of this consultation, the Vice President stressed the need to identify gaps in policy formulation. Our policies should be more pro farmer and there should be a pronounced bias towards agriculture, he added.
The Vice President emphasized that 4 Is - Irrigation, Infrastructure, Investment and Insurance sectors - need to be strengthened for an integrated development of farm sector. He further said that it was important to make agriculture sustainable through a judicious use of scarce resources like water, electricity and by avoiding indiscriminate use of fertilizers and pesticides.Observing that populist programs like loan waivers and free power would not provide lasting solutions, the Vice President said that farmers must be provided timely credit at affordable interest rates. Farmers have to be given the latest know-how and trained in the do-how to improve farm productivity, he added.The Vice President said that along with increased production, we need efficient distribution of food grains. Only then can we move our country forward to achieve the goal of zero hunger and adequate nutrition for all, he added.The Vice President wanted e-NAM implementation to be further streamlined and expedited. Expressing his concern over the restrictions on export of agriculture produce, he advocated to strike a balance between the interests of farmers and consumer. He said that consumers are vocal and well organize, he added.
The Vice President said that Lab-to-Land transfer of technologies need to be enhanced. Referring to the need to promote diversification of crops, he said that farmers should be encouraged to cultivate high value crops like fruits, vegetables, condiments, pulses, spices and sugarcane.The Vice President said that it is important to encourage farmers to take up allied activities like poultry, dairy, fisheries and aquacultures to not only enhance farmers income but also to provide a cushion against the adverse impact of failed crop.Referring to the Prime Minister’s call for doubling farmer’s income by 2022, the Vice President said although many initiatives were taken to boost agricultural growth, there is a need to examine if policy changes are required. Let us do some prudent thinking, apply our minds and offer solutions to improve the lot of farmers, who are the backbone of our economy, he added.