NEW DELHI: The agriculture ministry has drawn up a 7-point strategy to double farmers’ income in the country.
The plan includes improving irrigation efficiency, reducing input cost thereby increasing production, increasing investment in warehouses and food processing, and introducing reforms in agriculture marketing, the ministry said on Friday.
The ministry is also working to address concerns of farmers on crop loss and giving a push to allied activities such as encouraging horticulture, dairying, fisheries, poultry and beekeeping among others, it said.
“It is important to improve irrigation efficiency to increase production,” the agriculture ministry said in a press statement. “Hence, pending medium and large projects have also been expedited. Watershed development and water harvesting & management projects have been put on the fast track,” it said.
The ministry said soil health card scheme, which informed farmers about nutrients status of the soils, was reducing the cultivation cost as farmers were going for balanced use of fertilisers.
“The adoption of new technologies in agriculture such as space technology is helping in better planning through forecasting of crop production, agricultural land-use mapping, drought prediction, and utilisation of fallow paddy fields for rabi crops,” it said.
Also, to the address the issue of storage of crop post harvesting, the government is encouraging farmers to use warehouses and avoid distressed sales. “Loans against negotiable warehouse receipts are being provided with interest subvention benefits,” the ministry said. “To protect farmers from losses, the government is focusing on storage facilities and integrated cold chains in rural areas.”
Further, the government through the Rs 6,000-crore Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana would be working on the forward and backward linkage of agro processing cluster, which would benefit 20 lakh farmers and create employment opportunities for about 5 lakh, it said.
Already 455 mandis have been linked to the e-NAM platform and in addition the government has circulated model Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act, which includes private market yards and direct marketing. The government is also working on a model act to promote contract farming, it said.
To reduce the risk and provide security and assistance to farmer at a time of weather anomalies, the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) schemes creates a security shield, the release said. “The scheme covers standing crops as well as pre-sowing to post-harvesting losses. Not only that, 25% of the claim is settled immediately online. New technologies like smartphones, satellite imagery and drones facilities are being utilised to carry out faster assessments of crop loss under PMFBY,” it said.