Union food & public distribution minister Piyush Goyal on Monday stressed the need for finding ways and means to augment farm productivity and agriculture exports to boost farm incomes in the country.
He also said that the Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) will soon submit a comprehensive modern crop storage plan for the benefit of farmers in India, according to an official release.
Speaking at the Conference on Agri Infra Fund and Digital India, Goyal said that a cluster-based approach in agriculture produce marketing and exports will enable to “bring down the cost of production without affecting quality.”
He also threw light on the works done in the last seven years, including India featuring in the ninth position in the top 10 list of agricultural produce exporters in 2019 with 3.1% global agricultural exports as per WTO report. Goyal also said that the export of agricultural and allied products – including marine and plantation items, saw a 17.34% hike during 2020-21 as opposed to its previous financial year (2019-20).
At Monday’s event, the minister said that focus needs to be present on “five pillars to create atma nirbhar Kisan”. These include the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of ₹1 lakh crore, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), digital agriculture, national mission on oilseeds and oil palm, and export of agriculture products, the official government release read.
Talking about the various initiatives and works done by the Centre, Goyal, who also holds the profile of the Union commerce minister, said that the department of commerce has reached out to the states, districts and farms in order to boost a rise in exports of agriculture products.
He added that farmers have been given a “stake in exports of their produce, export market linkages [have been] provided to farmers/FPOs,” and export-oriented production with Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO) have also been encouraged.
The minister, while outlining the agricultural achievements, mentioned the export of dragon fruit to London and Bahrain, a consignment of ‘Raja Mircha’ (king chili) from Nagaland exported to London by air for the first time, and ‘Shahi Litchi’ from Bihar exported to the UK as well by air, among others.
Goyal also mentioned export of saffron and dry fruits from Jammu & Kashmir to Saudi Arabia and a consignment of vegetables consisting of curry leaves and ladies finger sourced from Hardiwar exported to Dubai.
“India has the attention of the entire world today and we are being looked upon as a trusted partner,” the release quoted him as saying.
Goyal said that India is “expecting FTAs/PTAs with many countries” for instance, the UK, the EU, and Australia, among others that will help in “boosting agriculture exports as well.”
The minister added that by “expediting technology adoption” in agricultural practices, India can boost its competitive advantage further.