Record production of foodgrains and a strategic roadmap for doubling farmers income by 2022

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today interacted with crores of farmers across the country via the NaMo app. In a live video conferencing session, PM Modi not only praised and hailed India’s farmers for their dedication and hard work, he also laid out the progress so far, reasserting his government’s commitment to its goal for India’s agriculture sector of doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

He highlighted the key points required towards achieving the goals, like, bringing down the costs of raw material, providing an adequate price for the products, minimising wastage of farm produce and providing alternate sources of income.

In the last couple of years, India has seen record level productions of agriculture products. Foodgrains production saw a record level growth in 2017-18. An estimate released for the Ministry of Agriculture stated that India produced a record 297.5 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2017-18.

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This includes a great harvest of rice at 115.5 million tonnes as compared to 109.7 million tonnes the previous year. Pulses production saw a 5.9% growth compared to the previous year. Though wheat production was nearly same as 2016-17 and oilseeds productions registered a slight decline from 31.3 million tonnes to 30.6 million tonnes, Sugarcane registered an astounding 16% growth than the previous year.

The Prime Minister also congratulated the farmers for producing record levels of fruits, vegetables and horticulture products. During 2016-17, the production of horticulture crops was at 300.6 million tonnes with a productivity increment of 3.45%. Both fruits and vegetable sectors showed a remarkable increase in productivity per hectare of land. India had produced 93 million tonnes of fruits, 3% more than the previous year, while vegetable production stood at a staggering 178 million tonnes, with 5% growth.

As per the second advanced estimate in 2017-18 released by the Ministry of Agriculture, 307 million tonnes of horticulture products were produced, continuing the steady increase in productivity per hectare as well. What is even more remarkable that the total production of horticulture products outweighed the total foodgrains productions for the fifth year in a row.

Similar trends were seen in milk and fisheries production too. Milk production in the four years of 2014-18 was 23% higher than 2010-14. During 2014-18, the year-on-year average growth has been 6.3% compared to the same at 4% during 2010-14. Even egg productions have increased by 7.4% compared to the previous year.

Fisheries have shown similar progress too. In November 2017, India became the second largest fish producing country in the world. India has registered an average of 14% growth in export in fisheries in the last decade and shown a production increase of 27% in 2014-18 as compared to 2010-14.

The record quantity of production was carried out owing to proper harvesting, storage, logistics and markets creation. The PM had insisted on many previous instances that the government will ensure assistance and availability of resources to farmers at every stage of cultivation. “Beej se le kar Bazaar tak” (from seed to market) has been the agenda for providing help.

The NITI Ayog has drawn up a strategic roadmap towards achieving the goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022. It has identified 7 main sources of growth and projected estimated growth rates needed in each aspect to achieve the target.

courtesy: NITI Ayog

Overall, it states that the action needed to double income by 2022 can be grouped under 3 main categories.

  1. Development Initiatives
  2. Technology generation and dissemination
  3. Policies and reforms

A sustainable and targeted approach in all the 3 categories listed above has been the government’s attempt to achieve the goal. Be it the availability of better technology, seed quality, irrigation frameworks and making fertilisers and agrochemicals available, the farm sector is being provided with the technological and developmental base it needs.

The PM mentioned the provisions and popularisation of neem coated urea and several irrigation schemes. The availability of better technology will also need the efforts of extensive awareness initiatives and easy accessibility of these resources. Krishi Vigyan Kendras in every rural district and the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), and providing digital access for queries are helping to achieve it.

The PM emphasized the extensive disbursements under Fasal Bima Yojna and the provisions of less premium and more widespread insurance of crops. These schemes help boost the confidence of farmers and ensures their financial strength.

Budget 2018 saw the government set the MSP for Kharif crops to 1.5 times the cost of production and also increased the credit limit for farmers. With all the schemes providing direct transfer of benefits through Aadhaar linked accounts, they not only ensure easy and efficient disbursement but also eliminate corruption at all levels.

Taking the farm produce to the market is another important step and the budget provisions for every step in that process, from private mandis, direct marketing to consumers to recent provisions on eNAM (Online National Agriculture Market) are all fruitful efforts in that direction.

The government is also encouraging economically profitable and novel methods for increasing income. Encouragement of beekeeping and organic farms initiatives of the North East are the examples of that.

The NITI Aayog states that the target is achievable and the PM has asserted his government’s commitment to the target and with holistic, interactive and sustainable India may actually see its farmers earning great profits by 2022.

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