Doubling farmers income possible only with states’ partnership: Naidu

Kota: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 can be realised only through partnership with state governments, Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu said on Wednesday.

The Centre is working on four ‘Is’ — irrigation, infrastructure, interest rate and insurance — to boost income of Indian farmers, he said while inaugurating the Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet (GRAM) here.

As for farmers, the only way forward to significantly boost their incomes is crop diversification and value addition through food processing, the Minister said.

“Till the time our farmers are not developed, India cannot be developed.”

“That’s why the Centre is working with the state governments on all these four fronts,” the Minister said.

Naidu said the Union government had launched a programme to ensure loans at seven per cent interest to farmers to make farming a profitable venture.

He said the government will soon realise Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of “one nation one market” through e-NAM (National Agriculture Market), which will enable the farmers to sell their produce wherever they get the best price across the country.

Naidu said the government was also working on developing infrastructure for cold store chains and ensuring electricity supply to all villages across the country by 2017 end.

“Farmers are leaving agriculture for other jobs because they feel that farming is not profitable,” Naidu said, adding it was the government’s priority to change this perception.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje advocated organic farming, use of technology and less fertilisers.

She said the farmers will prosper only if they increase their production by use of less water.

“We want to make our farmers self-reliant. That is possible only if we enable them to grow crops as per the market demand and to harvest three good-quality crops in a year,” she said.

The Chief Minister said the state government was working on helping farmers to set up processing plants on their farms by offering 50 per cent subsidy.

The Rajasthan government’s focus is to promote organic farming since the returns were two to three times higher than non-organic crop, she said.

Raje said the use of fertilisers can lead to reduction in soil fertility and may also lead to crop diseases, which could be avoided through organic farming.

“People today want clean, organic food for which they are willing to pay a higher price… we need to move to organic farming,” she said.

The Chief Minister said the state was developing Dungarpur in south Rajasthan as an organic farming district and had also identified one cluster in every block of its districts to promote organic farming.

“We are working on 1,150 clusters in 33 districts.”

The three-day GRAM meet ends on Friday.