Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said there is a need to bring a food processing revolution in the country through public-private partnership. Addressing a webinar on budget provisions for the farm sector, he highlighted the various initiatives taken by the government in the Budget for the next fiscal, including increasing the target of agriculture credit to Rs 16.5 lakh crore from Rs 15 lakh crore in the current financial year. He emphasised on effective implementation of the Budget provisions.
Modi said the government has taken various decisions for the benefit of 12 crore small and marginal farmers. These small and marginal farmers would become the driving force of the rural economy, he added. With the country’s foodgrains production increasing, Modi said: “There is a need for post harvest revolution or food processing revolution, and value additions.” He said it would have been better if food processing was given attention 2-3 decades earlier. Modi said the food processing sector needs to be developed at a faster pace. For the food processing revolution, he said, participation of farmers as well as public private partnerships need to be increased. The Prime Minister said that public sector has mainly contributed towards R&D in the agriculture sector, and now the time has come to increase private sector’s participation in it.
He also stressed that farmers should be given alternatives so that they do not remain limited to growing wheat and paddy. The country’s agriculture sector must be expanded to global processed food market, he added. Modi stressed on increasing the number of agro-industries cluster along the villages so that rural population can get employment related to farming. He also talked about the need to encourage agri startups, saying they have performed well during the pandemic period. The Prime Minister also emphasised on establishing network for soil testing at village level and also on accessibility of technology for farmers.