19-Feb-2018 12:13 PM
A two-day national conference will be held on today & tomorrow (February 19-20) to discuss challenges faced by the agriculture sector and chalk out a roadmap to achieve the government's target to double farmers' income by 2022.
The conference, which will have around 300 participants, has been called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who himself will attend the meeting on the second day.
Participants include farmers, scientists, economists, policy makers, representatives of farmers and trade associations, corporates and officials from Centre as well as state governments. NITI Aayog and related union ministeries would also attend the meet.
"We are organising a national conference 'Agriculture 2022- Doubling Farmers Income' on February 19-20 at Pusa," Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak told reporters here.
"In the conference, we will discuss what are the issues confronting agriculture sector and what should be done in near, medium and long term. We are looking for practical solutions that can be implemented in the field across the country," he said.
The conference is being organised at a time when farmers in several parts of the country are said to be in distress due to low price realisations from their produce in view of bumper production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June).
To address this issue, the government in Budget announced that it would fix the minimum support price of Kharif crops at least 1.5 times over the cost of production. The Centre would also consult States to find a fool-proof mechanism to ensure that farmers get the MSP.
Stating that the conference would focus on seven broad themes centred around farmers welfare, the secretary said that there would be a dedicated group for each theme that would come out with recommendations.
The groups for each theme would make presentation in presence of the Prime Minister.
"Wisdom of farmers will come to the fore. Suggestions will be heard by the Prime Minister," Pattanayak said.
At the end of the conference, the government aims to formulate a proper roadmap with timelines to achieve the goal of doubling farmers income by 2022.
The secretary highlighted that the government has already taken various initiatives to boost farmers income such as launch of soil health card scheme, new programmes for insurance and irrigation and linking of 585 mandis through electronic platform.
The recommendations from this conference would also be subsumed in the policy, he added.
The conference will be attended by chairpersons of farm advisory body CACP, SEBI, FSSAI and Nabard. Ashok Gulati of ICRIER, Anil Sharma of NCAER and Ajay Jakhar of Punjab Farmers' Commission have also been invited among others.
Among corporates, Bharti Enterprises' Rakesh Bharti Mittal, UPL's Vikram Shroff, Pepsico India's Shivakumar Dega, Coca Cola India's T Krishnakumar, Grofers' A S Dhindsa, Cargill India's Siraj Chaudhry, ITC's Sanjeev Rangraj, NCDEX MD & CEO Vijak Kumar, Adani Agri Fresh's Atul Chaturvedi, Jain Irrigation's Anil Jain Mahindra & Mahindra's Rajesh Jujirkar and Amul's MD R S Sodhi will attend the conference among others.
In an official statement, the agriculture ministry said the "conference is being organised on the advice of the Prime Minister with a view to identify various critical issues relating to agriculture and farmersa[TM] welfare and finding appropriate solutions."
The main aim is to build a consensus around appropriate recommendations that will help in shaping and sharpening the vision of the government on doubling farmers' income by 2022 into actionable points, the statement added.