‘Panel report on doubling farmers’ income by 2022 to focus on income orientation’

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HYDERABAD: The report of the inter-ministerial panel set up by the Centre on doubling farmers’ income by 2022 would focus on shifting from production orientation in farming to income orientation, Committee Chairman Ashok Dalwai has said.
“Basically, the focus would be on shifting from purely production orientation to income orientation. That is the meaning of making the agriculturist an entrepreneur. That means he will cultivate his land, practise animal husbandry, fisheries etc on the principles of profit,” he told PTI here.
The Committee is likely to submit its final report by May, Dalwai, a top official in the Union Agriculture Ministry, said.
“We are expected to do (submit the report) by May,” he said. The Committee was formed in 2016.
He said the report would focus on three aspects – how to increase productivity, decrease cost of cultivation and improve marketing efficiency so that farmers get”good price.
“The fourth aspect is that agriculture is full of risks.
You might sow, but there may not be rains. So there is a risk at every stage of agriculture. So how to manage the risk?.
That will also be important,” he said. The fifth important aspect, he said, was sustainability.
So far the technologies have been resource intensive. Since resources like water and land were becoming scarce, there was a need to have sustainable technologies.
“This will be the five basic approaches in our report,” Dalwai said.
The report would also dwell on the need for farmers to diversify into high value crops like horticulture, animal husbandry, fisheries and dairy sector to ensure income security, he said.
Already, many of the measures suggested by the panel were being implemented, he said.
“The Union Budget, for example, where we talked of a new market architecture. That means, APMCs (Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees) are only wholesale markets. We will now have retail agricultural markets,” he said.
The small and marginal farmers can go to the retail agricultural markets and transact in a more efficient manner, he said.
Simultaneously, the export policy would keep farmers’ interests in mind, he said, adding import duties have already been raised on items like refined oil, wheat so that the domestic prices become more farmer friendly.
“One very important thing is there will be now one and half times Minimum Support Price. MSP will be one and half times the cost of production for all crops. Plus there will also be a broad based procurement system.”
Dalwai said the country had so far been procuring very few commodities. But now all the commodities for which MSP was notified would be procured, for which the government was already working out a system, he said.
The other recommendations include allowing farmers to aggregate themselves and a new contract farming act, which would be shared with the state governments, Dalwai, who is also the CEO of National Rainfed Area Authority, said.