A national conference on Agriculture for Rabi Campaign 2019 was organized on Friday at NASC, Pusa, New Delhi which was inaugurated by Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare. The Conference was attended by several officials including Secretary (AC&FW), Secretary (DARE), Secretary (Fertilizers) and senior officers from DAC&FW, DARE, ICAR & State Governments/UTs.
Inaugurating the Conference Rupala highlighted the record production achieved for food grains (285 million tonnes) and also complimented state governments for effective implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes. But he expressed concerned about the shortage of oilseeds for which he suggested launching a separate mission to increase capacity and reduce import of edible oils.
The Minister emphasized that the demand for fertilizers should be made after consultation with farmer organizations at the District level. The State Agriculture Departments should furnish their fertilizer demands to Centre in time so that availability can be ensured to farmers at crucial stages of crops.
He stressed taking advantage of favorable weather conditions so that better production can be achieved in the Rabi season. The State Agriculture Departments of Gujarat and Punjab should remain vigilant for locust attack as it has been reported in Rajasthan, he added.
In his address Sanjay Aggrawal informed that the department has decided to distribute seed mini-kits for Rabi crops, pulses and oilseed with active involvement of State Agriculture Departments. As far as Kisan Credit Card is concerned, major changes in terms of waiver of registration fee, minimum time for issuance of KCC, widening the range of loans etc have been made for covering large number of farmers, he added.
Secretary (DARE) Shri Mahapatra informed that 45 biofortified varieties have been released with enhanced percentage of nutrients, protein etc. The State Agriculture Departments have been asked to provide support for strengthening the seed hubs. There is need to strengthen the Lab to Land connect for maximum benefit of farmers.
Secretary (Fertilizer) informed that a Fertilizer Awareness Drive will be organized by State Agriculture Departments on onset of Rabi season. The requirement for fertilizers needs to be generated at district level and needs to be forwarded to Centre by State Agriculture Departments. Buffer stock of fertilizers like urea would be explored at state level.
Presentations by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare were made on the subject of Credit, PMFBY, MSP operation, Farmers Welfare and Fertilizers. Three State Government presentations were also delivered and various components of flagship schemes were deliberated upon. Further, key implementation issues were discussed during the interactive sessions with state governments/UTs.