Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday urged farmers to take benefit of the government’s farm reforms that are not only aimed at improving their lives, but also boosting the agriculture sector. He also said the Modi government is continuously strengthening the foundation of the country’s agriculture sector, which lagged due to the neglectful policies of the previous regime. Tomar was addressing the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) 93rd Foundation Day and award ceremony virtually. The minister is the chairman of ICAR.
On the occasion, the minister also launched an Information Communication and Technology (ICT) based platform ‘Kisan Sarathi’ to support agriculture at the local level with a national perspective. Through this platform, officials at various levels can view and monitor daily activities such as farmer registration, live calls, messages, advisories given and pending. “The agri reforms undertaken by the central government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi are going to bring a change in the lives of the farmers. If farmers across the country take advantage of these agricultural reforms will prove to be revolutionary for them as well as increase the contribution of the farm sector in the economy,” an official statement quoted Tomar as saying at the ICAR’s event.
At one time, the contribution of the agriculture sector in GDP was about 50 per cent, but the sector lagged due to the neglectful policies adopted by the then governments, he said. “But now since Modi became the Prime Minister, the foundation of the agriculture sector is continuously being strengthened,” he added. Tomar said the Prime Minister has emphasised the overall progress of the agriculture sector, including reducing the cost of farmers, paying attention to soil health, adopting micro-irrigation methods, reducing the use of pesticides, and organic-natural farming. “ICAR has special importance and contribution in this direction,” he added.
Stating that agriculture is the mainstay of the country’s economy, Tomar said the sector has proved its relevance by showing its strength in many adverse circumstances, including the current COVID crisis. Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and Vice President of ICAR, Parshottam Rupala talked about the importance of animal husbandry and fisheries along with agriculture. Union Minister of Electronics, Railways and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnav assured to work in the interest of farmers in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture. The Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary stressed creating employment opportunities in agriculture for the youth, getting a fair price to the farmers and developing the best varieties of seeds.
He urged the farmers to engage in the processing, packaging, and marketing of their products themselves by joining farmer producer organisations (FPOs) to increase their income. The Minister of State for Agriculture Shobha Karandlaje said the agricultural extension has a special role in providing new information, technologies and advanced information to farmers. ICAR Director General Trilochan Mohapatra said the research body is committed to provide higher education in agriculture, research, identification of new indigenous varieties, development of technologies, filling the gap between lab to land and direct interaction with farmers. Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal as well as IT and Electronic Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney were also present.