New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for increased participation of the private sector in agriculture, especially in research and development. “There had been much contribution by the private sector towards research and development in the agriculture sector but it is time to increase participation of the private sector in Research and Development in the agriculture sector. It should not be limited to just seeds, but a holistic scientific ecosystem associated with one crop, the entire cycle,” said PM Modi while addressing a webinar on the implementation of Budget 2021 in the agriculture sector.
Addressing the concerns over contract farming, he said, “Contract farming is being done in some form or the other for a long time. Our efforts should be that contract farming should not just become a business but we should also fulfill our responsibilities towards that land.” He added that with food processing, “We must also focus on helping the smallest farmers with modern technology.”
Elaborating his point by citing an example, he said, “Just like we have a network for blood testing, we must have a network for soil testing.” PM Modi further said that a 50 per cent subsidy is being given on the transport of all fruits and vegetables for the Kisan Rail under the Operation Greens Scheme. Kisan Rail has also become a strong medium for the country’s cold storage network.
Endorsing the provisions taken for the agriculture sector in Union Budget 2021, he reiterated that his government is working in the interests of the farmers. “We have made reforms and started Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes worth Rs 11,000 crore which will help the agro-industries. Ready to eat, ready to cook, seafood, and several other items are being promoted,” he said.
“It is the need of the hour to ensure farmers’ produce get as many options in the market as possible. We have to integrate our agricultural produce into the global processed foods market,” said PM Modi. Listing out the steps taken by his government for agriculture in Budget 2021-22, he said, “India of 21st century needs post-harvest or food processing revolution and value addition amid increasing agriculture production. It would have been good for the country had this been done 2-3 decades back.”
“Central government has increased agriculture credit target to Rs 16.50 lakh crore – animal husbandry, dairying, and fisheries sectors have been given priority. Rural infrastructure fundraised to Rs 40,000 crore. Micro-irrigation fund doubled,”he added.