MUMBAI, July 12:
The agriculture and allied sectors remained strong during the pandemic, registering a growth of 3.5 per cent in 2020-21, mainly due to the hard work of farmers, skills of scientists and government’s farmer friendly policies, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Monday.
“Our agriculture and rural sector, which has been showing strength for years, has stood strong even during this pandemic and has contributed to the Indian economy. The tireless hard work of the farmers, the skill of the scientists and the farmer friendly policies of the government and the resolve of the progress of the villages showed a new ray of hope in the Corona crisis,” the agriculture minister said.
He was speaking at the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) 40th foundation day function.
Despite the constraints, Tomar said, there was no shortfall in the food supply in the country and the agriculture and allied sector registered a growth rate of about 3.5 per cent in the last financial year.
The minister further stated that despite the Covid-19 crisis, Kharif and Rabi sowing grew compared to the previous year, due to which food grain production reached a record level of 305.4 million tonnes in 2020-21, 8 million tonnes more than the previous year.
“In the year 2020-21, the production of horticultural crops has also reached a record level of 326.6 million tonnes and this growth is continuing,” he added.
Even the country’s agricultural exports have increased since May 2020, with food grains contributing the most, said the minister.
“The export of agriculture and allied products has increased by 34 per cent during the year 2020-21 to USD 41.25 billion,” he added.
The Government is continuously working towards improving the lives of rural people and increasing the income of farmers, Tomar noted.
“Collaborative institutions like NABARD have also helped in taking forward the innovative policies and reforms of the central Government. Progress of small and medium farmers is the main goal of the Government. Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Scheme, the government has directly transferred Rs 1,30,000 crore to the accounts of more than 11 crore farmers,” he said.
Keeping in view the cost of cultivation and to make it remunerative to the farmers, the government has continuously increased the minimum support price (MSP) and the procurement through the state agencies, he said.
In this, the minister stated that NABARD has played an important role in this record purchase by disbursing about Rs 50,000 crore to the State Marketing Federations.
NABARD has also made available crop loans to farmers at concessional rates through cooperative and regional rural banks, he added.
Emphasising on rural and agricultural infrastructure, under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given packages of more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore for the development of agriculture and allied sectors, which will benefit the farmers in the country.
“The objective is to promote investment through a special ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’ of Rs 1,00,000 crore. NABARD is also an important participant in this scheme, which has set a target of developing 35,000 primary agricultural cooperative societies as ‘one-stop shops’,” he added. (PTI)
MUMBAI, July 12: