New Delhi, Sep 8: Union Agriculture and Farmers' Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said that the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is set up to drive infra investments and will facilitate and drive speedy sanctions through a user-friendly online portal.
In his address on the 2nd day of the Chief Ministers' conference on initiatives and schemes of his Ministry, he urged the states to take advantage of the fund so that the benefits can percolate to the small and marginal farmers, who lack warehousing and cold storage facilities at the farm gate, a Ministry release said.
About the digital agriculture mission, Tomar stated that farmers' database "is our wealth" and will usher in focused programme delivery, reduce seepages, ensure better policy formulation and smart farming in the country. The database with 5.5 crore farmers is ready and work is progressing for verifying others with land records, he said.
Tomar said that the Union Cabinet recently approved National Edible Oil Mission (NMEO-OP) for palm oil with focus on the Northeast regions and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. "Through this, the production of edible oils will be accelerated in the country thereby reducing the import of edible oils. This mission will immensely benefit the palm oil farmers, increase capital investment, generate employment, reduce dependence on imports and increase the income of farmers," he said.
Union Commerce and Industry, and Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Piyush Goyal, in his address, said that the Central government is working in close alignment with the state governments to transform the future of farmers. He said that food security is synonymous with farmers' security and reforms for farmers have put India on the path of AtmaNirbhar Bharat.
On agriculture exports, Goyal said that exports have an important role to play in doubling farmers' income and India should aim to become the top five agri exporting nations.
About 'One District, One Product', he said that 106 products have been identified from 103 districts and these districts should be promoted as export hubs to ensure that local goes global. He informed that red rice is now being exported to the US and jackfruit from Tripura is being sent to the UK. "Free Trade Agreements are being worked out for better markets," he said, as per the release.
A presentation on theme of the conference was made by Additional Secretary Vivek Agarwal, who outlined the vision 'AtmaNirbhar Agriculture' that will "transform farmers into entrepreneurs with higher income and better quality of life; make India the food basket of the world, and make agriculture the go to investment opportunity".
Union Ministers of state for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shobha Karandlaje and Kailash Choudhary were present at meeting. Chief Ministers and Agriculture Ministers appreciated the efforts made by the Central Government for the progress of the agriculture sector and gave their suggestions regarding various schemes and some regional problems, the release said.