Gadkari urges farmers to switch to non-conventional crops

Nagpur: Changing the crop pattern, reduction of input cost and increase in productivity were vital for improving the agriculture scenario, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said here today.

Gadkari, who is ‘chief patron’ of Agrovision, an annual agricultural exhibition, was speaking at the conclusion of the event.

The minimum support prices of farm products were not going to increase much as they were linked to global prices, and therefore the farmers must think of changing crop patterns, reducing input cost and increasing the productivity for profitable agriculture, the Union Road Transport Minister said.

Over five lakh people visited the exhibition during the last four days and some 60,000 farmers participated in various workshops during the exhibition, the organisers said.

Gadkari advised the farmers to switch to oil seeds, pulses and maize from the conventional crops, avoid use of fertilisers and adopt organic farming methods.

Maharashtra Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule, who was the chief guest, listed various decisions of BJP-led state government for the farmers in power sector.

Under Atal solar agriculture pump scheme, 10,000 pumps, each costing Rs 5 lakh, would be distributed to farmers for Rs 20,000 each, and if the scheme succeeded, five lakh such pumps would be distributed in five years, he said.

The farmers who pay off electricity bill arrears would be given 50 per cent concession and would be given energy conservation pump, he said.

In 8,000 villages ‘agriculture feeder’ would be separated so that the village gets 24-hour power, the minister said.

State Water Resources minister Girish Mahajan also spoke on the occasion stressed the need for efficient use of irrigation.