New Delhi: The Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has urged the agricultural scientists in the field to reach out to the marginalised farmers. Inaugurating the 11th National Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) Conference -2020 here today, he said the KVKs should serve not only the affluent, resourceful and Progressive farmers but also focus on the small and deprived farmers. KVKs have a great responsibility by taking the fruition of the laboratories to the field. He said enough R&D has been done in Agriculture sector, – superior crop varieties released, 171 mobile apps developed for farmers and more than three lakh Common Service Centres (CSCs) opened, but now this must percolate down to the poorest of poor farmers. This is crucial to fulfilling the target set by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, added Shri Tomar.
Shri Tomar said the eNAM portal has been created so that the farmer gets better price for his produce. Already 585 Mandis have boarded the eNAM platform and another 415 Mandis will be added in due course. More than Rs.91,000 crore of eVyapar (e-trade) has been performed on the eNAM, he said. Shri Tomar said the share of Agriculture & allied sector to India’s GDP is itself low, but it is matter of concern that within this sector, the contribution of Agriculture alone is lower than that of Horticulture, Fisheries and even Animal Husbandry. He said the Government aims to set up at least two Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) in each block. There are three factors that have contributed to surplus foodgrains, – primarily the farmers’ labour, secondly the role of agricultural scientists, labs and universities and thirdly the central and state governments’ farmer welfare policies, schemes and incentives. “We have to create an ideal situation where agriculture sector becomes lucrative. Let the farmer not only leave behind for his inheritors the piece of land but also the legacy of agriculture as a profession,” said Shri Tomar.
Underlining the crucial role of KVKs as a bridge between the laboratories and farmland, Shri Kailash Choudhary, MoS for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, said since the creation of the first KVK at Puducherry in 1974, there are 717 KVKs spread across the country today. Calling for strengthening KVKs, he said we have to ensure the farmer gets superior and resilient seeds, irrigation and fertilizers for growing healthy crops, mechanised harvesting and a market providing the best price for his produce.
In his address, Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) & Director General, ICAR, called for updating the farmers’ database in each KVK. He said the KVKs should provide single window service to meet the farmers’ various needs. On the occasion, Shri Tomar and other dignitaries released a number of KVK publications and various products developed by the KVKs.