The agriculture sector is all set to repeat the last year’ record food grain production at over 275 million tonnes in 2017-18 on good rains but farmers’ woes may continue if prices crash below the support price.
Some states, including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, have announced around Rs 90,000-crore farm loan waivers to save their farmers who have been reeling under the stress of low prices, although the Centre took some steps to address the “short-term stress”.
Experts warned that a “crisis is brewing” in agriculture as farmers income has been hit badly in last two years despite bumper crops and urged the Centre to take immediate steps to boost the farm economy and save farmers from the crisis.
Notwithstanding the growing farmers’ distress, the government asserted that the agri sector was doing “quite well” and things are changing at the ground level on account of several policy measures and their full impact would be seen in the next 6-8 months from now.
We have done quite well this year. There are certain challenges and we are addressing them. We are committed to farmers’ welfare said the Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan
He also claimed that efforts are being made to reduce the cost of production and double farmers’ income by 2022 by promoting integrated farming in a big way.
Farmers are being encouraged not to just depend on one or two crops for their income but to go for allied farm activities like poultry, bee keeping, fishery and piggery.
Assam, Bihar, Gujarat and Rajasthan had witnessed floods during the kharif season, while parts of Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu faced dry spell.
In the 2016-17 crop years (July-June), the country had achieved a record food grain production of 275.68 million tonnes, bouncing back from two straight drought years.
Asserting that 2018 will be definitely a much better year for the farm sector, the agriculture secretary said the supply and value chain will get straighten up than what it is at present?
We are on ascending path. We must recognise that India is a global agriculture superpower,” he said, adding that global players are looking at the country for investment.
In 6-8 months from now, India should be a destination in food processing sector. “Once this takes place “Once this takes place, it will further strengthen our agriculture sector,” he added.