National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign Gets Underway in New Delhi
The two-day National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign – 2017 is being organised on 25th and 26th April, 2017 at New Delhi. The Conference was inaugurated by Radha Mohan Singh, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and also addressed by Parshottam Rupala and Sudarshan Bhagat, Ministers of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
The conference was attended by Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, besides Agriculture Production Commissioners / Principal Secretaries / Secretaries / Directors of the State Departments of Agriculture, Horticulture and Agriculture Marketing, Senior Scientists from ICAR and other officials from relevant Ministries and agencies.
In his inaugural address, Radha Mohan Singh applauded efforts of the Central and State Governments in attaining an estimated record production of about 272 million metric tons in foodgrains and 33.6 million tons oilseeds. He particularly referred to the expected quantum jump in pulses production, which is estimated at a record breaking 22.14 million metric tons as per the second advance estimates.
Singh pointed out to the encouraging first stage forecast of the South West monsoon during Kharif 2017 and exhorted the States to make all necessary arrangements of agricultural inputs for our farmers. He further stressed on the commitment of the government to double the income of farmers by the year 2022 and the initiatives taken by the Central Government towards this end.
A roadmap has been prepared to scale up pulses production to 24 MMTs by 2021. Complimenting the states that have achieved the target of delivery of soil health cards to all farmers Singh exhorted the others to complete the first phase by in the next 2-3 months. The second cycle of the soil health card scheme will commence in May 2017.
Referring to the growing popularity of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, the Union Agriculture minister expressed hope that the States will expand the coverage further this year. He encouraged the States to implement the Paramparagat Krishi Yojana in a mission mode to promote organic farming, particularly in the rainfed and hilly areas. Singh also reiterated the need to introduce marketing reforms in agriculture sector to enable farmers a better price realisation.
In his address, Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Agriculture, highlighted the achievements made under flagship schemes of the Department and made a particular reference to the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana which was launched from Kharif, 2016. Under this new scheme, comprehensive risk coverage from pre-sowing to post-harvest losses has been provided. Rupala exhorted the States to leverage technology in the implementation of the scheme and achieve the targets for insurance coverage of 40% and 50% of the total cropped area/farmers during 2017-18 and 2019-20 respectively.
Addressing the conferenece, Sudarshan Bhagat, Minister of State for Agriculture, stated that it was absolutely imperative that all flagship schemes of the Governments are given the highest priority to bring about material improvements in the lives of our farmers.
Union Agriculture Secretary, Shobhana K. Pattanayak, in his address pointed out the multipronged strategy needed to double farmers’ income by 2022. He laid particular emphasis on initiatives to reduce cost of production, bridging the yield gaps in productivity and ensuring better price realisation for our farmers. He particularly emphasised the necessity for adoption of technology in this regard.