Allied business, low crop waste can double farmers' income: PM

New Delhi, Feb 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday reiterated that the income of Indian farmers can be doubled if revenue from allied sectors is generated and crop waste losses reduced, besides increase in farm yield.

"Our government is working on four aspects to double farmers' income -- reducing input cost, ensuring remunerative prices for produce, reducing losses due to wastage during transportation, and getting additional income (from allied sectors)," Modi said while addressing the 'National Conference on Agriculture 2022 - Doubling Farmers' Income' here.

He said the government's decisions -- related to policy, technical and law -- were based on these aspects, which led to positive outcomes. 

"After neem-coated urea was introduced and soil health cards given to farmers, the input cost has gone down. The use of chemical pesticides has gone down by 8-10 per cent while crop output has gone up by 5-6 per cent, he said. 

The Prime Minister said farmers who took care of the nation's food security were trapped in income insecurity, adding that the government would ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) one-and-a-half times the input cost.

Modi said the white revolution by 'Amul' had benefited farmers and now there was a need for blue revolution, sweet revolution and organic revolution to increase farmers' income. 

"We can ask farmers to grow sea weed, build apiaries, set up solar farms. We have to put advanced options before them and make them aware of the same. Income can even be generated through waste such as coir and coconut shell waste, bamboo waste and banana waste" he said.

The government has allowed bamboo plantation and agro-forestry, which will help farmers to increase their income by selling bamboo and trees grown in their fields, he added.

Modi said timely and sufficient loans should be made available to farmers.

He said the government was working to make the supply-chain system stronger by raising infrastructure such as cold stores, dry stores, packaging houses under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sampada Yojana. 

"In Operation Greens, supply chains will be connected, which will help fruits and vegetables growers," he said.

He said crop insurance coverage under his government had doubled, which saved many lives but "it could not become (news) headline. No one is bothered." 

Modi said farmers will be benefited if cooperative federalism took strong roots. 

"We have framed a model law (for agricultural marketing) and have asked the states to adopt it. We will have to work together," he said.

The Prime Minister said there was also a need to connect rural markets to the international markets along with boosting irrigation facilities. 

"We are going to upgrade 22,000 rural markets and integrate them with APMC markets and e-NAM (electronic- National Agriculture Market). The system will connect farmers to any market in the country," he said 

"During the British rule, one commission had recommended one market at every 5-6 km distance. After 100 years, I have got the opportunity to do it." 

Modi appealed to the agricultural universities, Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Information Technology and engineering colleges to organise start-up events, hackathons related to agricultural issues.