Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singh while addressing the conclave of Chief Ministers of Himalayan states organized in Shimla said that Himalayan states are diverse in agricultural species, agricultural production systems and livestock breeds. This diversity is extremely useful for the future, not only for humans but also for the protection and development of all animals and plants.
He said that organic farming should be emphasized for the coming generations. For the promotion of organic farming, there is a plan to develop clusters of 50 acres for which funds are being provided in the ratio of 90:10. In order to promote value chain in organic farming in North East region, financial assistance for advanced seed plantation materials, development of basic structure etc is being provided to Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
The Minister said that under the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Rs 1307 crore has been allocated since 2015-16 for the development of organic farming in the cluster mode. 5 lakh farmers have benefited from this and 2.38 lakh hectare of land has been brought under organic farming. Under the Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCD-NER), 50,000 farmers have been engaged in organic farming and 2500 interested farmers group have been developed. Sikkim is the first state to adopt organic farming and learning from it, other states are also adopting organic farming.
He said that under the National Horticulture Mission, assistance is being provided mainly for the construction of ca storage, nurseries, processing units in the North Eastern and Himalayan states. So far, 26 CA (controlled atmospheric) storages have been established in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand with a capacity of 1 lakh metric tonne. 20 processing units have been established in North East and Himalayan states and 519 Marketing Infrastructure Units have been set up.
Drawing attention towards climate change, the Minister said that in order to deal with this, 45 Integrated Farming System models have been developed by ICAR covering all 15 agro-climatic areas of the country. These climate-friendly technologies are being displayed and promoted in 29 states through KVKs.
In a separate event while addressing the 70th Foundation Day ceremony of ICAR- Central Potato Research Institute (CPRI) in Shimla, the Minister said that owing to the research work and innovative technology of the institute, India is today one of the leading potato producing countries of the world. In the last seven decades, a lot of progress has been made in potato production and acreage. While the area under potato cultivation was 2.30 lakh hectare and production was 15.4 lakh tonnes in 1949-50, it rose to 21.64 lakh hectares and 4.65 crore tonnes respectively in 2016-17.
The institute has developed several new technologies in order to increase potato production. The scientists of the institute have developed Indo-Blightcast model for forecasting potato late blight. The Institute has also developed multiple disease resistance advanced species of potato. Simultaneously, it has developed potato varieties for hilly regions like Kufri Himalini and Kufri Girdhari. Recently, CPRI have developed the aeroponic technology for the production of superior uniform size potato seeds free from viral diseases. The Institute also provides scientific backup to agencies for producing potato seeds using aeroponic technology. This has ensured easy availability of seed potatoes for the farmers. Annually the Institute is producing 3000 tonnes of potato breeder seed. Institute has developed and released six processing varieties viz., Kufri Chipsona 1-4, Kufri Himsona and Kirfri Frisona (chips and finger fry making). CPRI has also developed three processing and two storage technologies.
The Minister reiterated Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of Doubling Farmers’ Income which, he said, can be achieved through intervention of modern agricultural techniques. He said that agricultural loans are being made available to the farmers at a minimum interest rate (4%) by the government and the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna (PMFBY) has been launched to ensure compensation for crop loss. To reduce the cost of agriculture, the government has increased subsidy on agricultural investment. The government has also made a historic increase in MSP of various crops in order to make the farmers financially strong.
The Minister expressed hope that the ICAR-CPRI will continue to contribute in the production and development of potato with full commitment and take India to the top in global potato production.
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