Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Food Processing Industries, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, today addressed the summit on ‘Agriculture and Food Processing Opportunities in Madhya Pradesh' organized by the Ministry of Food Processing, in partnership with ASSOCHAM and Invest India through video conference.Addressing the summit, Union minister , Sh. Tomar encouraged entrepreneurs to set up food processing units in the country, and assured them that the government will provide all possible help. He added that the government is granting speedy approvals to the food processing projects. The union minister also stressed on the need to bring private investment and latest technology in the field of farming.Sh. Tomar stated that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, continuous efforts are being made to increase the income of the small farmers. He noted that 86% of farmers in the country are small farmers and, until they are not empowered, the self-sufficiency of villages and growth of agriculture sector cannot be imagined.Under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, an amount of about 1 lakh 15 thousand crores has been disbursed to 10.5 crore farmers of the country which increased the annual income of these farmers by 6 thousand rupees.Shri Tomar added that Central Government is making efforts so that small and medium farmers could also cultivate expensive crops, and get the benefit of agro-technology to produce crops of global quality standards.Under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Package, Rs. 1 lakh crore has been allotted for agricultural infrastructure which will help in bringing infrastructure such as cold storage, ware houses to villages.He further stated that the Central Government is setting up ten thousand new Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) in the country with an estimated spending of 6865 crore rupees. Farmers can get the benefit of reduced costs, better market and integrated irrigation facility by joining FPOs. FPOs will be given a 3 percent rebate in interest for loans up to Rs 2 crore taken for the purpose of agriculture.Shri Tomar said that it is because of the hard work of our farmers and research of scientists, that India is a surplus nation in terms of food grains production. India is also a leading producer of milk and horticultural produce in the world. Now, there is a need to focus on food processing. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries is working rapidly in this direction with several schemes.
Mr. Tomar called attention to the challenges faced by the farming sector due to climate change. He said that farmers should focus on cultivation of pulses, oilseeds as well as coarse grains in low water areas instead of wheat and paddy. He highlighted the importance of coarse grains as immunity boosters in the context of Covid-19. He added that self-help groups should be involved in the processing of oilseeds so that women of weaker sections in the villages can also be benefited financially.Talking about the opportunities in Madhya Pradesh, Sh. Tomar has said that there is immense potential in the field of food processing in Gwalior-Chambal region and this could improve the economic condition of small farmers of the region.He elaborated that the Gwalior-Chambal region is rich in cultural, archaeological heritage as well as commercial and agriculture importance. The region has good production of paddy and wheat, and there is great potential for the production and processing of pulses and oilseeds, especially mustard.Shri Tomar noted that Morena district is also a pioneer in terms of honey. NAFED has created a Farmer Producer Organization of honey, through which it will be able to increase the quality of production, packaging and marketing of the honey. This honey is sold in the country as well as globally.Shri Bharat Singh Kushwaha, Minister of State for Horticulture and Food Processing, (Independent Charge), Madhya Pradesh has said that the country will become self-reliant, if the farmers become self-reliant. He added that, to realize the dream of self-reliant India of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Madhya Pradesh government is also engaged in making farmers self-reliant under self-sufficient Madhya Pradesh. He said that the government will set up 10,500 food processing units in five years. Out of this, 262 units will be provided assistance during the current financial year.Speaking at the event, Ms. Reema Prakash, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India has said that Madhya Pradesh is known as the Food Basket and is the leading state in the production of oilseeds, pulses and medicinal crops and spices. She noted that huge profits can be made by processing these crops.The event saw participation from major Food Processing companies such as Dabur, Hyfun, Patanjali, UPL and supply chain companies such as Flipkart. The summit included Business to Government (B 2 G) and business to business (B 2B) meetings. The details of the PMFME scheme were also presented for the benefit of registered entrepreneurs, FPOS and self help groups.The summit was also attended by officials of the state government and members of ASSOCHAM.