The four top secretaries of the government of India who are related to the agricultural sector one way or the other, have held brain-storming sessions to improve the sector. They are Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Agriculture, Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Fisheries and Smt. Pushpa Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Food Processing.
Two webinars were held in which they participated. Addressing the webinars, Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary of Agriculture lauded the leadership of the Prime Minister and said we need to focus on the food-processing sector. Agarwal said food processing in India is less than 10% and the target is to increase it to 25%. There is increasing demand for value-added health-fortified and processed food.
He mentioned several enabling schemes like the Agri Infra Fund of Rs. 1 lakh crore for post-harvest infrastructure, scheme for 10000 FPOs, special drive to include 25 million farmers who still do not have the KCC, and developing a digital agri-stack which will be a key enabler for online marketplaces and smart agriculture.
The Secretary, Agriculture projected an aspirational vision for ‘Atmanirbhar Agriculture’ by transforming farmers into entrepreneurs with higher incomes and better quality of life, making agriculture the “go to ” investment opportunity, and making India the “Food Basket ” for the world.
Comparing livestock rearing to an ATM machine for farmers, Atul Chaturvedi, Secretary, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, said that no product is as fast moving as milk for a retailer. However, the per capita consumption of milk in India is still only 394 gms per day as compared to 500-700 gms per day in US & Europe.
Chaturvedi said that the Government of India has taken several measures to boost the animal husbandry sector and listed these including one billion doses of vaccine in a year for FMD.
Several incentives have been announced like Dairy Infra Development Fund in 2018 and Animal Husbandry Infra Development Fund this month, he added.
Describing fisheries as a sunrise sector, Dr. Rajeev Ranjan, Secretary, Fisheries, said India is now the 2nd largest aquaculture producer in the world and 4th largest seafood exporter. He projected the key targets of the Government of India in this sector in the next five years.
Dr Kumar assured that the fish production targeted would be raised from 137.58 lakh tons in 2018-19 to 220 lakh tons in 2024-25, average aquaculture productivity to be raised from 3.3 tons/ha to 5.0 tons/ha in 2024-25, fisheries exports to Rs 1 lakh crore by 2024-25 and Rs 2 lakh crore by 2028, and employment generation from about 15 lakhs in 2018-19 to about 55 lakhs in 2024-25.