Pune: The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, said in a programme in the city on Thursday that farmers are the last ones to ask for a loan waiver and would never ask for waivers if they are provided basic facilities like credit, infrastructure, power and markets. The VP was speaking at the National Consultation on Making Agriculture Sustainable and Profitable.
Speaking at the programme organised by the Government of India, Indian Council for Agriculture Research, FICCI, NAFED and CII etc, the VP said, “We must enable farmers to export the produce for getting better returns. In many of our policies, consumers are given more importance because of their large number, but farmers’ concerns should not be ignored,” Naidu said, adding, “Loan waivers are not a permanent solution. In long-term, it will affect the agriculture sector and hurt the farmers.”
“Irrigation, Infrastructure, Investment and Insurance sectors need to be strengthened for the development of the farm sector,” the VP said, adding, “It is obvious that a concerted, coordinated focused action is required on a number of issues that impact the growth of agriculture sector and the quality of life of people who depend primarily on this sector.”
Naidu went on to explain the importance of infrastructure availability and technology infusion in the agriculture sector. The VP, said that primary credit facilities should be expanded and institutional finance must be made easily and timely available to the farmers. He also said, “The Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) act needs to be amended by introducing single-point levy of market fee across a state and a unified single trading license.”
Speaking at the same programme, former Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, said that deficiti in infrastructure, knowledge sharing, skill development, market availability etc, hamper the growth of the agriculture sector. Pawar said, “In India, strategies are mainly devised keeping production in focus while other countries are more consumption oriented,” adding, “Public Private Partnership needs to be encouraged in the Research and Development sector and constant coordination is needed between the bureaucracy, farmers and the market.”
Pawar further went on to give the example of the Baramati Model of soil testing and knowledge sharing. “There must be collaborative efforts with the Krishi Vidnyan Kendras and other institutions. Many a times we see farmers throwing their produce away in protest. A direct sale model where farmers are connected to the consumer with transparent transaction needs to be made,” Pawar said, adding, “A 100 pc connectivity between the wholesale markets of the country needs to be achieved.”
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, said that artificial intelligence and technology infusion can help solving issues. “The economic value of water is not taken in consideration usually when calculating agricultural costs. Efficient use of water and other resources is needed and which is why in the state we have focused on watershed development and management,” Fadnavis said, adding, “Using protective irrigation and water conservation techniques, we can sustain current crops as well as increase area under Rabbi sowing to make farming feasible.”
The Chief Minister also said that the state has good procurement but has a shortfall in selling. “The biggest challenge is in market linking and implementing MSP to farmers. We have expertise in procurement, but no expertise in Marketing. Thus we have warehouses full of produce but don’t know how to sell it.” MS Swaminathan, father of the green revolution, said that the country needs to move from Green Revolution, to Evergreen Revolution. The two day conference will see various experts discussing issues and solutions in making agriculture sustainable.