27 March 2023, New Delhi: Describing the coming together of Centre, states, industry, and Civil Society organizations in the welfare of the agriculture sector as a healthy thing, Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Director General, Indian Council of Agriculture Research & Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India said that in the next 25 years, by the time India’s Amritkal is complete, India will write a better and spectacular story wherein agriculture sector will play an important role.
He was speaking at a seminar in New Delhi on “Unlocking the Potential of India’s Agriculture: Key to Unleash A Thriving Economy” organized by the Foundation for the Growth of New India or FGNI.
Dr. Pathak who himself was a farmer in his early growing-up years said that he feels the pain of India’s farmers, particularly the small and marginal farmers.
Citing the recent applauds India has received from Bill Gates and various countries, he said, “We have come a long way from begging bowl in hands to self-sufficiency and second largest producer of food grains, however, if India is to be developed nation, most probably by 2047, it cannot happen without agriculture and contribution of small and marginal farmers.”
Dr. Pathak was joined by Dr. R. B. Singh, a hugely respected figure in India’s agriculture policy field, ‘Padma Bhushan’ awardee, Chancellor of Central Agricultural University, Imphal, and President & Founding Member of FGNI and Mr. R. G. Agarwal, Advisor, FGNI.
Dr. R. B. Singh strongly pitched for making growth inclusive, sustainable, symmetric, high-performing, and in line with the SDG goals of India.
Calling for making “New India” a truly New India which is equitable, prosperous, and happy too, Dr. R. B. Singh said, “World is looking towards India for direction, G20 presidency being one of such instances, however rather than being complacent, we should empower our farmers and rural populace, who constitute about 50% of the population with technology to increase their income from being one fourth in comparison to non-farmers to being equal to any other group. This can make the vision of a $5 Trillion economy vision true with at least a $1 Trillion contribution of the agriculture sector.”
Mr. R. G. Agarwal candidly spoke at length on several issues faced by Indian farmers, including the use of injurious pesticides imported from China which is damaging the soil and crops, lack of technology in hands of farmers, different treatments for fertilizer and pesticides by the government, etc. and demanded free & competitive markets to maximize farmers’ income, time-bound approval for researched based products used in agriculture, enabling policy initiatives & incentives for precision farming and advance IT tools for agriculture.
“India has a great potential to increase both production and export of food grains and crop chemicals. If we have a more enabling environment and policy support, India can easily be the leader in this space. Moreover, if we can do away with waste of food grains which is roughly 30%, which is possible through technology, we will be prepared to meet our requirements in 2050 too,“ said Mr. Agarwal.
Mr. Binod Anand, who spoke on the plight of small and marginal farmers, proposed to organize four deliberations on the issues faced by farmers. The same was agreed upon by all scientists and eminent personalities. DG ICAR Dr. Himanshu Pathak also accepted to be a patron of the foundation.
FGNI will compile the suggestions and inputs presented by the participating scientists, industrialists, and other eminent speakers and will bring out a Policy Paper to be presented to the government, said Mr. Binod Anand.
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