The National Conference of State Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers has been organized after two years due to the Corona crisis, in Bangalore. It was inaugurated today in the presence of Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Health and Family Welfare, and Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri Basavaraj Bommai.
This conference has been organized by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare coinciding with the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, in which key issues will be deliberated upon to ensure the development of agriculture and farmers in the country.
The Union Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shobha Karandlaje and Shri Kailash Choudhary, Union Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers and New and Renewable Energy, Bhagwanth Khuba, State Agriculture and Horticulture Ministers including Agriculture Minister of Karnataka, B.C. Patil, Union Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja, Fertilizer Secretary Arti Ahuja, DARE Secretary and Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Karnataka Chief Secretary Vandita Sharma and Senior officials of Central and State Governments/Institutions are participating.
Addressing the Inaugural ceremony, Shri Tomar said that the Central and State Governments are working together in the field of agriculture, yet we all bear the important responsibility to solve the challenges facing the agriculture sector, formulate policies and their proper implementation.
“Our country is the largest democracy, where there is diversity of ideology, language, geography and climate, but herein lies the strength of India. There is a need to discuss how this can be used in the interest of the States and the country in the context of agriculture. Agriculture is a very sensitive sector which is connected to crores of farmers.
Work needs to be done without any vested interest on how the Centre and States can bring about a change in the lives of small farmers sitting in the villages. Prime Minister Shri Modi has recently said that whatever is happening on the land, that should also reach the lab. This needs to be looked into because till now the focus was on ‘Lab to Land,’” he said.
Shri Tomar said that the country has to depend on the import of fertilizers and the central government is incurring a subsidy of about Rs. 2.5 lakh crore rupees annually in the interest of farmers, so that the burden of rising prices internationally does not fall on our farmers. But there must be an end to this situation at sometime, he said.
“So now in the field of fertilizers also we need to be AatmaNirbhar (self-reliant), there is a need to ‘Make in India’,” said Shri Tomar.Describing the importance of nano fertiliser, Shri Tomar said that the role of the states is important in promoting it. Due to the hard work of the farmers, the skill of the scientists and the policies of the Centre and States, agriculture in the country has developed better and is becoming sustainable.
He asked the Ministers of the States to do their best work during their tenure for faster progress of agriculture.On this occasion, Union Agriculture Minister Shri Tomar listed out the various topics to be discussed in the two-day conference.
These include Digital Agriculture, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, National Agricultural Market (e-NAM) and Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), taking Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi to its saturation level, International Year of Nutritional Grain (2023), Rs 1 lakh crore worth of Agricultural Infrastructure Fund, promotion of Natural Farming, New Age Fertilizers and New Technologies developed by ICAR.
In his address, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, while explaining the global situation of fertilizers, said that India has to import it in large quantities, the raw material is also very expensive, and yet the central government is giving excessive subsidy. Subsidy on DAP has been hiked from Rs. 512 in 2020-21 to Rs. 2,501 for the 2022-23 Kharif season. DAP price in India is lowest as compared to other countries.
Dr. Mandaviya said that as per the directions of the Prime Minister, the burden of increased cost is not being passed on to the farmers and the government is committed to the easy availability of fertilizers across the country, but now there is a dire need to increase the use of nano fertilizers and undertake this as a campaign across the country.
Requesting cooperation from the states in this regard, he said that district-wise data of availability of fertilizers should be maintained so that it can be properly managed and distributed. Strict monitoring should also be done that farmers' fertilizers is not diverted to industries anywhere. He said that model outlets will soon be launched across the country.
Karnataka Chief Minister Shri Bommai said that Agriculture is our culture and the mainstay of our country's economy and Indian agriculture sector is ensuring food security. He said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Modi, many important policies have been formulated and concrete work done in the agriculture sector in the last 8 years and despite having a population of more than 130 crore, our country has become self-sufficient in food production.
Bommai said that a country which is self-sufficient in food production becomes a self-respecting nation. He said that if the farmers get separated from the land then it will be very difficult, so it is important that the farmers remain attached to their land and we must make efforts to strengthen them further. Farmers will have to be strengthened in all aspects, - economically, socially and educationally.
Highlighting the achievements of Karnataka in the agriculture sector, he said that many schemes have been implemented in the state in the interest of agriculture and farmers. Describing the importance of investment in agriculture, he emphasized on ensuring the soil health and adopting best farming practices to increase its fertility. The Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister, Agriculture Minister, Fertilizers Minister and the Center for their cooperation.