The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that cooperatives have the potential to revive agriculture and make it sustainable. He was delivering the 19th Vaikunth Bhai Mehta Memorial Lecture organized by National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI), here today. The Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shir Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.The Vice President has asked cooperatives to take up the task of training farmers in the right use of fertilizers, and also help them understand new technologies in farming. We need to strengthen cooperatives so that they can work for the welfare of the farmers and give them credit at the time they need at a reasonable rate of interest, he added.The Vice President called for an increased participation of women in cooperative movement. He further said that the cooperative sector has a big role in bridging the urban-rural divide and creating opportunities for income generation. Women’s participation will further strengthen economic activity in rural areas, he added.
Keeping in view the strategy of Government’s Seven Point Agenda for doubling farmers income by 2022, the Vice President said that agricultural cooperatives can play a vital role in educating the farmers to reduce the cost of cultivation through balanced use of fertilizer, improve water-use efficiency, establish more warehouse to avoid distress sale of produce, link with National E-market (e-NAM), emphasize value addition and encourage farmers to take up other allied activities like poultry, beekeeping, fisheries.The Vice President urged cooperatives to take active part in skilling rural youth. He further said that cooperatives have tremendous opportunities in solving the problem of unemployment, so, skilling the rural population through cooperatives can be a big leap forward.Cooperative training must not only be imparted to employees in cooperatives, but also extend beyond cooperatives, to children in schools, colleges, universities, technical and professional institutions, and also for those who want to form cooperatives, but who are not aware of the various modalities, and requirements.Highlighting the need to have a transparent, accountable and efficient system, the Vice President has asked the cooperatives to make effective use of digital technology in their functioning, especially in governance, banking and businesses.