Modi bats for small farmers, stresses value addition on agri yield

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that empowerment of small farmers is central to the vision of his government. He highlighted the role of the private sector in the research and development activities in agriculture, while stressing on the importance of food processing.

At a webinar, Modi said that empowerment of small farmers will greatly help in ridding many problems from agriculture in India. The PM mentioned some of the provisions for agriculture in the Union Budget such as increasing agriculture credit target to `16,50,000 cr with priority to animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries sector, increasing rural infrastructure fund to `40,000 cr, doubling the allocation for micro irrigation, expanding the scope of Operation Green Scheme to 22 perishable products and linking 1,000 more mandis with e-NAM. 

He stressed India’s need for the post harvest revolution or food processing revolution and value addition in the 21st century amidst  ever-increasing agricultural production. The PM emphasised on developing processing in every agriculture-related sector such as foodgrains, vegetables, fruits, fisheries. 

For this, he said, it is critical that farmers should have the storage facilities near their villages. At the same time, he called for the improvement of the system of taking the produce from the fields to processing units and emphasised that hand holding of these units be done by the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs).  

“We have to expand our country’s agriculture sector into the global market for processed food. We must increase the number of agro-industries clusters near the village so that the people of the village can get employment related to farming in the village itself,” he said.