While addressing the audience at an interactive
session organized by the Central Island Agricultural Research Institute (ICAR),
in Port Blair 5 July 2018, the Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu said
that the hike in the Minimum Support Price for Kharif crops will go a long way
in improving the income of the farmers.
In a comprehensive address, the Vice President covered
all the vital issues related to farmers and farming beginning with the
procurement process to upgrading post-harvest operations like linking the
farmers directly with the market.
Apart from the hiking of MSP, other income improving
measures need to be taken, he added, to mitigate agrarian distress,
particularly of the small and marginal farmers.
He urged the scientific community present at the
gathering to interact with the farmers which will lead to development of the
Pointing to the unstable income of the farmers and
resulting misery, he laid emphasis on taking measures to improve the living
condition of the farmers. Of course, farmers may be made aware of crop
diversification and areas like livestock, horticulture which actually provides
employment opportunities to the farmers. He said, expressing concern over the
unstable income of the farmers, it “ is a matter of great concern for all of
us. This is evident from the fact that the average monthly income of an
agricultural household is Rs. 6,426/- as against its average consumption
expenditure of Rs. 6,223/- leaving little disposable income at their hands.
Further, the inequitable distribution of landholdings (85% of small and marginal
farmers operating on 45% of the area) makes them vulnerable to poverty. Hence,
efforts to enhance the income in agriculture for these sections of farmers have
become the top priority of policy makers. The resolve of the Government is to
ensure income security to farmers’ by doubling their income by 2022.”
The Vice President asked farmers and those involved in
agriculture to be aware of government schemes like Soil Health Card (SHC)
Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY), Pradhan Mantri Fasal
Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and The electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM).
The Vice President also touched upon the role of women
in agriculture and decreasing manpower availability in the farm sector.
Recognizing the critical role of women in agriculture,
the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has declared 15th October of
every year as Women Farmer’s Day besides earmarking at least 30 per cent of the
budget for women beneficiaries in all ongoing schemes/ programmes and
development activities, he said.
And the farmers tackle the decreased manpower
availability through mechanization “at a faster rate by either individual
purchase of machinery or through custom hiring basis. This initiation was found
rewarding as there is 20 per cent reduction in cost of cultivation and 30 per
cent increase in productivity.”
He referred to the measures taken by the government to
sustain soil health which has become a matter of concern due to imbalanced use
of fertilizers; additionally, the government has taken measures to enhance the
net irrigated area from 34.5 percent to its full potential.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) which is a
yield index based crop insurance scheme was launched in 2016, and 23 States
during kharif 2016 and 25 States / Union Territories during rabi 2016-17 have
implemented the PMFBY covering 30 per cent gross cropped area, he said.
He also said that the government has taken initiatives
to transform the agriculture sector which is experiencing structural changes.
“The core priority of the government is to provide opportunities for farmers to
diversify their income generating opportunities and also to reduce the various
risks by facilitating the development of agricultural sub-sectors like
livestock and fisheries.”
At the end of his speech, he spoke on organic farming
and the steps taken by the government to promote it like forming a research
institute, National Organic Farming Research Institute (NOFRI) and he concluded
his address in keeping with the tradition with his best wishes to all the