15 May 2023, New Delhi: The 8th meeting of Agriculture Ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member countries was held last week through video conferencing under the chairmanship of Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar.
Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, China, and Pakistan participated in it along with India. Under the chairmanship of India, SCO member countries adopted the Smart Agriculture project. Expressing satisfaction over the smart agriculture action plan and the initiative of innovation in agriculture, Mr. Tomar said that Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s emphasis is on the overall development of agriculture in the country through technology. In this direction, India has taken several concrete steps to promote smart agriculture.
Welcoming everyone to the SCO meeting on behalf of India, Union Minister Mr. Tomar said that India gives importance to its relations with SCO in promoting multilateral, political, security, economic, and people-to-people interactions. It is a matter of pleasure and pride for us to organize a meeting of SCO Agriculture Ministers to discuss strengthening cooperation in food security and nutrition, especially in the current situation.
Mr. Tomar said that to maintain the normal functioning of the food supply chain in the present conditions, there is a need for close contact and cooperation between various countries for food and nutrition security.
He added that India is the largest employer globally in the agriculture sector, where more than half of our population is engaged in agriculture and allied sectors, while India also represents an important economic activity for many countries. Its importance is also evident from the fact that the budget allocation for agriculture and allied sectors in India has increased more than 5 times in 10 years from 2013-14. Over the years, India has performed well in the agriculture sector, contributing to global food security with food grain production, registering a significant growth in exports, and exports of agricultural and allied products have crossed Rs 4 lakh crore.
Mr. Tomar said that India’s public distribution system and price support system for farmers is unique in the world. It is the good result of the foresight of our policy-makers, the efficiency of agricultural scientists, and the tireless hard work of farmers that today India is self-sufficient in food grains. India is a leading producer of many commodities like cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk, eggs, and fish. He said that the welfare of the farmers and the overall development of the agriculture sector has been the top priority of the Government of India.
India, with its comprehensive development path in the agriculture sector, will continue to share its best practices and build capacities with other countries, bilaterally as well as in collaboration with international organizations, so that they too become self-reliant and food-secure nations. He said that rich agricultural research has played an important role in solving the issue of food security, improving the income of farmers and agriculture workers, and also for the sustenance of the people. Efforts are being made by the Government of India to make the country self-reliant in the agriculture sector with concerted efforts in innovation, digital agriculture, climate-smart technologies, development of high-yielding, biofortified varieties, and agricultural research. Efforts are being made to improve the life and livelihood of the farmers by making their agriculture sustainable and friendly.
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