Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu has asked the scientists, researchers and farmers to join hands to make agriculture not only remunerative, but profitable in country. He expressed concern over farming increasingly becoming a loss-making enterprise.
Speaking after inaugurating the three-day Agritech and Agrivision 2020 jointly organised by Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here on Saturday, he said there was need to create value addition by bringing together farm producers and agro-industry to make the activity both sustainable and profitable. “We have a situation today where farmers are unable to get adequate returns despite phenomenal increase in food production, keeping agriculture as one of the most unattractive vocations,” he pointed out.
Stating that empowering farmers was essential to strengthen the rural economy, reduce poverty and achieve inclusive growth, he said the agriculture sector needed a great deal of attention as it was the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of the country’s population contributing nearly 16% to the gross domestic product (GDP). The major challenges confronting agriculture in the country were high input costs, instability in yields, low returns, debt, diminishing natural resources, growing demand for food, fragmented land holdings and the vagaries of nature, he noted.
The Vice-President stated that one of the major challenges for food security in the 21st Century was to not only improve productivity but to ensure yield stability as well. “To achieve these objectives, we need to develop crops that are disease and pest-resistant and are adaptable to climate change,” he suggested. It was necessary to adopt the latest technologies from seeds to post-harvest management to marketing, which would help improve productivity on a par with the leading nations and help in enhancing farmers’ income, he said.
Turning to climate change, he said there was a need to promote climate-smart agriculture as the climate change was posing a major challenge. He stated that organic farming was growing rapidly in the country with it being practised in about 7 lakh hectares, although taking it to merely 0.4% of the total agricultural land.
Organic farming was the need of the hour for mitigating farm crisis and address the climate change issues, he said and complimented PJTSAU for developing rice (paddy) varieties which would help control diabetes.
Minister for Agriculture S. Niranjan Reddy listed out the pro-farmer measures being implemented by the Telangana government to make agriculture remunerative. Vice-Chancellor of the university V. Praveen Rao, Home Minister Md. Mahamood Ali, CII Telangana Chairman D. Raju, conference chairman Anil Kumar Epuru and others attended.