National Conference on Agriculture for Zaid Campaign-2019 was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare in New Delhi today. On this occasion Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala highlighted the achievements made by the Ministry in the last 4 years. Speaking on irrigation Shri Rupala said that out of about 141 m.Ha of net area sown in the country, about 65 million hectare (or 45%) is presently covered under irrigation. Substantial dependency on rainfall makes cultivation in unirrigated areas a high risk, less productive profession. Empirical evidences suggest that assured or protective irrigation encourages farmers to invest more in farming technology and inputs leading to productivity enhancement and increased farm income. Government of India is committed to accord high priority to water conservation and its management. To this effect Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) has been formulated with the vision of extending the coverage of irrigation ‘Har Khet ko pani’ and improving water use efficiency ‘More crop per drop' in a focused manner with end to end solution on source creation, distribution, management, field application and extension activities. The major objective of the PMKSY is to achieve convergence of investments in irrigation at the field level, expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (Har Khet ko pani), improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water, enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop), enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban agriculture and attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system.Shri Rupala said that as per the 4th Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2017-18 that were released by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare on 28th August, 2018, there has been a record production of foodgrains in the country. As a result of various policy initiatives taken by the Government, total Foodgrain production in the country is estimated at 284.83 million tonnes in 2017-18 which is higher by 9.72 million tonnes than the previous record production of foodgrain of 275.11 million tonnes achieved during 2016-17. The production during 2017-18 is also higher by 24.66 million tonnes than the previous five years’ (2012-13 to 2016-17) average production of foodgrain.
Parshottam Rupala said that the Ministry is coming up with many new initiatives during the current year. These include implementation of scheme for managing burning of crop residue in northern states that is expected to play a major role in controlling air pollution in these states, fixing of Minimum Support Price at 1.5 times the production cost, establishment of an Agri-Market Infrastructure Fund, Operation Green for Tomato, Onion and Potatoes, National Bamboo Mission, Kisan Credit Cards for animal husbandary farmers, an Animal Husbandary Infrastructure Fund, computerization of Primary Agricultural Credit Societies. The Conference discussed many issues that have become increasingly relevant. Special sessions with presentations were held to discuss strategy for potential crops and production systems for zaid, irrigation potential for zaid season and achieving water use efficiency through PMKSY, protection of zaid crops from open grazing/stray animals, promotion of organic farming and procurement, price realization and post harvest management.The Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Shri Sanjay Aggarwal while giving his remarks urged the states to submit action plan for Zaid / Summer season area coverage and stated that summer rice should be discouraged and less water demanding crops like pulses, oilseeds and millets should be promoted during Zaid /Summer Season because there is shortage of water during summer season. He also urged them to take benefit of existing schemes such as Targeting Rice Fallow Area (TRFA), additional area coverage program under NFSM, inter cropping in sugarcane and oil palm under NFSM and also through Crop Diversification Program. He also mentioned that irrigation and nutrient management should be addressed together through Per Drop More Crop of PMKSY; an integrated nutrient management approach under PKVY for attaining high water use efficiency and nutrient use efficiency. Crop protection methods such as physical barriers, biological barriers, bio-acoustics, bio-fencing and community fodder blocks practices should be promoted by states and help can be sought under RKVY and MNREGA programs he added.