Venkaiah Naidu urges to reduce input costs in agriculture

File photo of Venkaiah Naidu

Chennai: Stating that loan waivers and subsidies provide only temporary relief to farmers, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu stressed on making Indian agriculture profitable by reducing input costs and providing uninterrupted power as well as credit at low interest rates to the farming community.

Addressing the ‘National Dialogue – Indian Agriculture Towards 2030′ event organised by UN-body FAO and Niti Aayog, he said there is a need to reduce input costs in the agriculture sector and also tap potential in the food processing segment.

The Vice President also emphasised on reducing dependence on chemicals and adopting organic farming in a big way for the health of the nation.

Naidu called for coordinated action by both the Centre and states to make agriculture profitable.

“As farmers are unorganised and voiceless, the four Ps — Parliament, political leaders, policymakers and press must pro-actively adopt a positive bias towards agriculture. In fact, a radical shift in making agriculture profitable is the need of the hour,” the Vice President said.

Naidu noted that loan waivers and subsidies provide temporary relief to farmers and are not sustainable solutions. He said there is a need for both long-term and short-term measures to ensure remunerative prices to farmers.

“Promoting e-marketing extensively, cold storage facilities and refrigeration vans should cater to farmers’ needs in a big way. Providing uninterrupted power round-the-clock and extending timely credit at low-interest rates are crucial to make agriculture profitable and viable,” he said.

Naidu listed out four key sets of challenges that Indian agriculture has to address for the future.

“Foremost among these is the challenge of food security and better nutrition for our growing population. In fact, the time has come to switch the focus of our approach from ‘food security’ to ‘nutrition security,” he said.

The Vice President talked about the challenge of sustainability of natural resources as well as adverse impact of climate change. This calls for a heightened focus on technologies that increase water use efficiency, he said.

The Vice President also expressed concern about the increasing lack of interest in farming among educated youth.

“Changing socio-economic milieu, increasing agri-input costs and diminishing returns have turned agriculture into a less preferred profession among the youth,” he said, adding that the trend needs to be reversed.

Stating that agriculture input costs have gone up significantly, mr Naidu urged policymakers and other stakeholders to work towards reducing the costs. Towards this end, he also suggested promoting organic farming in a big way.

 

NT Bureau