Agri minister holds discussion with Industry towards rapid agriculture development

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar held a meeting through Video Conference today with industry representatives on the Ordinances i.e “the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020” and “The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020” promulgated by Government of India. Shri Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Agriculture, Shri Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary (Agriculture) and senior officers of the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare were present.

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare thanked Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for his vision in bringing strategic interventions in market reforms for rapid agricultural development and increasing farmers’ income. He mentioned that the Government is taking several measures for the welfare of farmers with a specific focus on ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’. The Ministry has been making concerted efforts to bring reforms in agricultural marketing and freeing agriculture sector of various restrictions through strategic interventions.

Giving details of various initiatives, Shri Tomar said that the Government has created the  Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs. 1 lakh crore to be used over the next four years. This fund is for building post-harvest storage and processing facilities, largely anchored at the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), but can also be availed by individual entrepreneurs. The Agriculture Infrastructure Fund would facilitate in strengthening the agricultural infrastructure, development and improvement of warehouses, cold storage, pack houses and marketing facilities in the rural areas, which would enhance the income of farmers and boost rural economy. He stated that within one month of its approval by the Union Cabinet, the Prime Minister has inaugurated the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund on 9th August 2020 and Rs. 1128 crore has been sanctioned to Primary Agriculture Credit Cooperative Societies.

Shri Tomar said that further, the Government has formulated and approved a Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs. The scheme has been launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister on 29.02.2020.   Under the scheme, formation of 10,000 FPOs across the country is targeted in five years period till 2023-24, while providing adequate handholding to each FPO for five years from the formation, for which support will continue till 2027-28.

The Minister said that the country has become self- sufficient in food grain production and urged to focus our attention on the development of small farmers. This intervention will bring a change in the lives of the farmers and will facilitate to boost the rural economy.

A presentation on both the Ordinances, FPOs and Reforms in Agriculture Marketing was made by the Joint Secretary (Marketing), DAC&FW highlighting all the aspects related to their benefits to the farmers and other stake holders. 

All the industry representatives appreciated the efforts of Union Agriculture Ministry for the Ordinances promulgated by the Government and bringing rapid reforms towards strengthening agriculture infrastructure across the country. They said that these historical reforms will unleash the potential of the agriculture sector and help in moving towards “One Nation, One Market” which will benefit farmers and farmers’ groups immensely.

Shri Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State also expressed his views and said that emphasis has been given to bring strategic interventions in the existing marketing ecosystem and bringing farmer-centric reforms aiming towards rapid agricultural development. He thanked the Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, senior officers of the DAC&FW, and all the industry representatives for fruitful deliberations.