November 12, 2019
The Finance Minister stressed on the importance of sustainable water and energy usages in agriculture as the sector is a major consumer of both as well as the world’s largest producer
Smt Nirmala Sitharaman outlined the possibility of farmers participating in solar energy and wind energy generation and smart water management with infrastructure investment in farms
NABARD has been urged to support agricultural ventures in the J&K and Ladakh regions, and to promote the marketing of nutrients in coastal regions through the network of FPOs and SHGs
The Chairman of NABARD remarked that value chain optimization would occur when 10,000 FPOs would be generated amid US$200 billion annual credit facilitation credit to farmers
Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, in her address at the 6th World Congress on Rural and Agriculture Finance highlighted that agriculture was a key priority for the Government of India and that there was greater need to expand the scope of rural development within the country. With a large portion of the country’s population depended on agriculture as an occupation, Smt Sitharaman remarked on the importance of adopting water conservation efforts and including a mandate of energy production within farmers’ current agricultural capabilities.
The Minister outlined the possibility of farmers participating in the generation of solar energy and wind energy through the installation of solar panels and other suitable equipment in farms. This, in Smt Sitharaman’s view, would mark the transition of farmers from Annadatas or providers of food to Urjadatas or providers of energy.
The Minister also took the platform to urge National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to support the agricultural setup in J&K and Ladakh by aiding in the timely procurement of agricultural produce in both the Union Territories. She added that production of solar power is to be promoted within the Ladakh as well. Additionally, the Minister also urged NABARD to aid in the marketing of nutrients in coastal regions through the network of FPOs and SHGs.
Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala, Chairman of NABARD said that India provides US$200 billion agriculture credit every year to small and marginal farmers. This will be enhanced once 10,000 FPOs are set up, as announced in this year’s Budget. This, coupled with the intervention of ongoing training, technology and best practices, would enhance the prospects of financing rural and agricultural development.
Meanwhile, diplomatic initiatives by India have been changing the approach towards global partnerships in agriculture R&D. As a growing number of nations reach out to India seeking technological collaboration as well as commercial opportunities in the sector, there has been an overt acknowledgement that the issue of global food security is a matter of collective responsibility. To this end, the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, had recently approved the Agriculture Export Policy, 2018, which is also a part of the Government’s broader plan to double farmers’ income by 2022.