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Union Agriculture Minister inaugurates National Conference for Kharif Campaign

New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign 2023-24 on Wednesday at NASC Complex here. Addressing Conference, he emphasized that agriculture remains prime pulse of the Indian economy and is at the core of the socio-economic development of the country. It accounts for around 19 percent of […]

Edited By : Aditya Singh | Updated: May 3, 2023 21:10 IST
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New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign 2023-24 on Wednesday at NASC Complex here. Addressing Conference, he emphasized that agriculture remains prime pulse of the Indian economy and is at the core of the socio-economic development of the country. It accounts for around 19 percent of the GDP and about two-thirds of the population is dependent on the sector.

Shri Tomar expressed happiness that India’s agriculture sector has been witnessing robust growth with an average annual growth rate of 4.6 percent over the last six years. This has enabled agriculture and allied activities sector to contribute significantly towards country overall growth, development and food security. 

As per 2nd Advance Estimates (2022-23), production of foodgrains in the country is estimated at 3235 lakh tonnes which is higher by 79 lakh tonnes than the production of foodgrains during 2021-22. Record production is estimated of rice, maize, gram, pulses, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane. Total production of sugarcane in the country during 2022-23 is estimated at record 4688 lakh tonnes which is higher by 1553 lakh tonnes than the average sugarcane production. As per the 3rd Advance Estimates of Horticulture, a record 3423.3 lakh tonnes of horticultural production are estimated in 2021-22 which is 77.30 lakh tonnes higher over production of 2020-21.

The objective of this conference was to review and assess the crop performance during the preceding crop seasons and fix crop-wise targets for Kharif season in consultation with State Governments, ensure supply of critical inputs and facilitate adoption of innovative technologies with a view to enhance production and productivity of the crops.  

The priority of government is agro-ecological based crop planning for diversion of land from excess commodities like rice and wheat to deficit commodities like oilseeds and pulses and high value export earning crops. Special Mustard programme was initiated during rabi 2020-21 that has brought most spectacular results. Mustard production has jumped by 40% from 91.24 to 128.18 lakh tonnes in last 3 years.  The productivity saw 11% increase from 1331 to 1447 kg/ha. The area under rapeseed & mustard enhanced by 29% from 68.56 lakh ha in 2019-20 to 88.58 lakh ha in 2022-23.  Timely action by central and state government made this remarkable achievement possible.

The Minister shared that India organized The Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference at the IARI campus, PUSA, New Delhi on the 18th of March 2023 as part of a major celebration of the International Year of Millets. Dedicating to the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023, the Hon’ble Prime Minister unveiled a commemorative coin and stamp celebrating IYM followed by the digital launch of a book of millets (Shree Anna) standards. 

The Prime Minister declared ICAR-IIMR as Global Centre of Excellence which was followed by a screening of a short film on Shree Anna & IYM 2023. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is ensuring that IYM is celebrated in a structured way throughout the year by organizing regular meetings (In person/ video conferencing) with all the stakeholders. Expert Institutes such as ICAR-IIMR, APEDA, ICRISAT, and others are also involved to encourage R&D, productivity, and value addition.

The Conference set the national targets for the production of foodgrains and other commodities. National targets for total food grains production are set at 3320 lakh tonnes for the year 2023-24.  The target for production of pulses has been fixed at 292.5 lakh tonnes compared to 278.1 lakh tonnes this year and oilseeds production will be increased from 400 to 440 lakh tonnes in 2023-24.  Total Shree Anna production has to be increased from 159.1 lakh tonnes in 2022-23 to 170.0 lakh tonnes in 2023-24. The strategy would be to increase area through inter-cropping and crop diversification and productivity enhancement through the introduction of HYVs and the adoption of suitable agronomic practices in low-yielding regions.

Addressing the Conference, Kailash Choudhary, MoS (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare) hoped that global demand for millets is set to rise, consequent to the celebration of the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets (IYM), This will provide us a unique opportunity to increase production, ensure efficient processing and consumption, promote better utilization of crop rotations, and encourage better connectivity throughout food systems to promote millets as a key component of the food basket. Due to its multi-functionality, millets hold considerable potential to contribute to economic and ecological diversification, climate resilience, and food & nutritional security. Widely recognized as “Smart Food” or “Nutri-Cereals”, millets play a crucial role in transforming agri-food systems, across the globe. India is set to become International Hub for millets.

In his deliberation, he said that there is a significant increase in oilseeds and pulses still more stress should be given for further increase in the production of seeds and pulses. For all the government facilities, schemes, and information on agriculture must be given through FPO for its effective implementation.

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First published on: May 03, 2023 09:10 PM IST

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