Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today said that making agriculture sustainable and profitable should top the agenda of both central and state governments as food security is the key foundation of national security.
Addressing the concluding session of the two-day National Consultation on Agriculture at Vaikunth Mehta National Cooperative Institute of Management, he said that a multi-pronged strategy needs to be adopted to make agriculture viable and ensure that the interests of the farmers are protected.
The Vice President said that the recommendations of the two-day deliberations on six themes will be shared with a wider audience and key stake holders including the union and the state governments and farmers’ organisations. He further said that the outcomes of the national consultation along with inputs received from the wider cross section of people will be placed before the nation.
This is expected to generate informed debate on critical issues in this sector and lead to tangible action touching the lives of farmers across the country, he added.
Expressing his concern that the system was in favour of the articulate and organised urban sector, the Vice President said that the time has come for a sharper focus on rural, agrarian population and a positive bias towards farmers. Interests of both farmers and consumers need to be balanced, he added.
One of the new challenges in the agricultural sector is the problem of plenty. ‘We have become self sufficient in food grains. However, this has not translated into higher incomes for the farmers. Unless agriculture is made profitable, we cannot attract more people, especially youth, to take up farming,’ the Vice President emphasised.
The Vice President said that farmers have contributed immensely in transforming our nation into an exporter of food grains and we owe a lot to them. He further said that food security is central to national security and our kisans are continuously ensuring it. That’s why our nation salutes the farmers and says ‘Jai Kisan!’, he added.
While farmers are ensuring food security, our armed forces guarding our country are ensuring national security. They have demonstrated highest standards of professional excellence and are among the best in the world. We salute their sense of dedication and say ‘Jai Jawan!’, the Vice President added.
The Vice President said that the nation owes a great deal not only to farmers and to the defence forces but also to the eminent scientists who are extending the frontiers of knowledge and contributing to the development of our nation continuing in the same vein he lauded the great heights reached by Indian scientists and said ‘Jai Vigyan’.
Disrespecting or neglecting or ignoring these three pillars is not in the interest of the nation, he emphatically declared.
The Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Shri Parushottam Rupala, expressed his deep appreciation at the novel initiative taken up by the Vice President of India and assured that the recommendations will receive serious consideration.
Shri Girish Bapat, the Minister for Food, Drugs, Administration & Civil supplies for Maharashtra was also present on the occasion.
More than hundred scientists, agricultural experts, Vice Chancellors of various agricultural universities, representatives of ICAR, NAFED, NABARD, and NITI Aayog took part in the two day consultation organised by Indian Institute of Public Administration in collaboration with CII and FICCI.
The following themes were discussed during the two-day meeting;
Creating an enabling policy framework
Intensification of Farming, diversification to High value agriculture
Marketing and Agri Logistics
Agricultural trade policy
Transfer of Technology –lab to land
Agricultural Insurance and credit>