Committee to come up with recommendations to promote alternate crops and farm mechanisation, among other factors, that will lead to accelerated growth.
Hyderabad: The Cabinet sub-committee on agriculture will explore and identify the measures to be taken to transform the agriculture sector into an industry that would facilitate farmers reap the benefits of farming besides ensuring a high growth rate. It will come up with recommendations to promote alternate crops and farm mechanisation, among other factors, that will lead to accelerated growth.
Participating in the Cabinet sub-committee meeting headed by Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy here on Tuesday, Industries Minister K T Rama Rao said the agriculture sector had the potential to improve the economy of the State with more than two crore population directly or indirectly dependent on the sector.
“Promotion of food processing industry should be taken up on a large scale to make agriculture a profitable industry,” the Minister said, and suggested that the Cabinet sub-committee consult experts and scientists like Prof MS Swaminathan, Jayathi Ghosh, Palagummi Sainath, Subhash Palekar and others and seek their suggestions to improve the sector. He felt the need to send an official team to the Agriculture Museum in Iowa as well.
“We must examine the possibilities of setting up demonstrative parks in about 50-100 acre each in all the 32 districts to encourage innovative industries in agriculture sector. Similarly, innovations in agriculture should be encouraged with the State Agriculture University as the focal point. Use of modern technology like drones should also be encouraged in agriculture sector and farmers should be exposed to modern cultivation methods,” he said.
Rama Rao also suggested uberisation of farm machinery that would make equipment available in rural areas. He strongly recommended encouraging terrace farming in urban areas to meet the increasing demand for vegetables.
Committee chairman and Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy, in his address, said the State government was according top priority to the farm sector by initiating measures to strengthen the sector and introducing farmer-friendly policies. “The agriculture production was valued at Rs 40,000 crore in 2014 at the time of State formation but that has now shot up to Rs 94,000 crore,” he said. Pointing out that there was no alternate to food, he emphasised the need to encourage the younger generation to take up agriculture and allied sectors.
Stating that establishment of industrial units would be encouraged for production of ethanol from paddy, he said by making sufficient quantity of local variety of seed available, extensive potato cultivation can also be taken up across the State. Apart from encouraging agri-startups, the government will also strengthen the cooperative sector in the State, the Minister said.
He urged the elected public representatives to create awareness among farmers to cultivate aflatoxin-free groundnut crop during the next Yasangi season, which had huge demand in international market. “The government, on its part, will set up a research centre to promote development of new groundnut varieties. Further, the Cabinet sub-committee will examine and make recommendations to improve groundnut production in the State,” he said, adding that groundnut cultivation will receive a boost if the government procures the by-products for use in Anganwadis and schools.
Energy Minister G Jagadish Reddy emphasised the need to encourage farmers to take up alternate crops and reduce paddy cultivation. He pointed out that farmers were not cultivating fruits and vegetables to meet the needs of the State. Forests Minister A Indrakaran Reddy said farmer should cultivate commercial crops taking advantage of the government schemes and earn better profits. He said though there was an increase in cultivation due to the government’s initiatives, farmers were not keen on taking up cultivation of alternate crops.
Education Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy said cultivation of horticulture crops like fruits, vegetables and flowers had reduced considerably during Covid pandemic, due to lack of proper marketing facilities. She suggested for encouraging organic farming. Transport Minister P Ajay Kumar wanted the government to encouraging co-operative farming methods and come up with an action plan to promote alternate crops.
Government Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, Principal Secretary for Finance K Ramakrishna Rao, Agriculture Secretary Raghunandan Rao, Prof Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University vice-chancellor Praveen Rao, Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticulture University vice-chancellor Neeraja Prabhakar, and other top officials of Agriculture and Horticulture departments, also participated in the meeting.