Union Agriculture Minister inaugurates National Conference for Kharif Campaign

New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the National Agriculture Conference for the 2023-24 Kharif campaign at the NASC complex on Wednesday. In his speech at the conference, he emphasized that agriculture remains one of the most important sectors of the Indian economy and is at the heart of the country’s socio-economic development. It accounts for about 19 percent of GDP, and two-thirds of the population depends on the sector.

Shri Tomar expressed happiness that the Indian agriculture sector has shown strong growth with an average annual growth rate of 4.6 percent in the last six years. This has enabled agriculture and related activities to contribute significantly to the country’s overall growth, development and food security.

according to 2n.d According to preliminary estimates (2022-23), the country’s food grain production is estimated at 3,235 million tonnes, which is 79 million tonnes more than the food grain production of the period 2021-2022. Record production is estimated for rice, maize, gram, pulses, rape and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane. The country’s total sugarcane production in 2022-2023 is estimated at 4,688 million tonnes, which is 1,553 million tonnes higher than the average sugarcane production. According to the 3rd preliminary estimate of horticulture, a record horticultural production of 3,423.3 million tonnes is estimated in 2021-22, which is 77.30 million tonnes higher than the production in 2020-21.

The purpose of the conference was to review and evaluate crop performance in previous growing seasons and set goals for each crop. Kharif season, in coordination with state governments, ensure procurement of critical inputs and facilitate adoption of innovative technologies to increase crop production and productivity.

The government’s priority is agroecology-based crop planning to shift land away from surplus commodities such as rice and wheat to deficit commodities such as oilseeds and pulses and high-value export products. A special mustard program was launched during the 2020-21 rabi, which brought the most spectacular results. Mustard production jumped by 40%, from 91.24 tons to 128.18 million tons in the last 3 years. Productivity increased by 11%, from 1331 to 1447 kg/ha. Rapeseed and mustard production area increased by 29% from 68.56 million ha in 2019-2020 to 88.58 million ha in 2022-23. This remarkable achievement was made possible by the timely action of the central and state governments.

The minister shared this India organized The Global Millets (Shree Anna) conference on 18th at IARI campus, PUSA, New Delhi.th In March 2023, as part of one of the big celebrations of the International Year of the Millet. Commemorating the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023, the Hon’ble Prime Minister unveiled a commemorative coin and stamp to celebrate the IYM, followed by the digital launch of the Millets (Shree Anna) Book of Standards.

Prime Minister declared ICAR-IIMR as a Global Center of Excellence followed by screening a short film on Shree Anna and IYM 2023. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare will ensure that IYM is celebrated in a structured manner throughout the year by organizing regular meetings (in person/video conference) with all stakeholders. Expert institutes like ICAR-IIMR, APEDA, ICRISAT and others are also involved in promoting R&D, productivity and value addition.

The conference set national targets for the production of food grains and other commodities. The national target value of total food grain production is 3320 million tonnes for the year 2023-24. The production target for pulses has been fixed at 292.5 million tonnes, compared to this year’s 278.1 million tonnes, and the production of oilseeds will be increased from 400 to 440 million tonnes in 2023-24. Total Shree Anna production is to be increased from 159.1 million tonnes in 2022-23 to 170.0 million tonnes in 2023-24. The strategy would be to increase the area through intercropping and crop diversification, and to increase productivity in high-yielding regions and by introducing appropriate agronomic practices.

Speaking at the conference, Kailash Choudhary, MoS (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare) hoped that Due to the celebration of 2023 as the International Year of Millet (IYM), global demand for millet will increase. This provides us with a unique opportunity to increase production, ensure efficient processing and consumption, and promote better utilization of the crop rotation. , and encourage better connectivity between food systems to make millet a key component of the food basket. Thanks to its versatility, millet has significant potential to contribute to economic and ecological diversification, resilience to climate change, and food and nutrition security. Widely known as “Smart Food” or “Nutri-Cereals”, millet is playing a key role in the transformation of agricultural food systems worldwide. India will become the international center of millet.

During his consultation, he said that there is a significant increase in oilseeds and legumes, and even more emphasis should be placed on further increasing the yield of seeds and legumes. All government facilities, systems and information related to agriculture should be channeled through the FPO for its effective implementation.

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