Even as India is one of the three largest food grains and pulses producing countries in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for wider application of latest technology, artificial intelligence, block chain, drone technology to solve the problems in agriculture. He said it is the responsibility of scientists and policy makers to ensure not a single person remains hungry or malnourished.
Mr. Modi was addressing the three-day Global Potato Conclave-2020 held at Mahatma Mandir here through videoconferencing. It is jointly organised by Indian Potato Association (IPA), New Delhi-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Shimla-based Central Potato Research Institute and Peru-based International Potato Centre. He said that 6,000 farmers going to the fields is also praiseworthy.
He said that India is hosting the Conclave for the third time, earlier in New Delhi in 1999 and 2008. Gujarat is a leading potato growing state. The area under potato in India has increased by 20 per cent and in Gujarat by 170 per cent during the last three years. It has been possible due to policy decisions, sprinkler and drip-irrigation, linking cold storages with big food-processing units in Gujarat, most of the potato exporters also being located in the state.
Mr. Modi reiterated his government’s resolve to double the farmers’ income in the country by 2022. The Centre has approved 100 per cent FDI in food-processing industry while encouraging value-addition and development of value-chain under ‘Kisan Sampada Yojna’. His government is also encouraging smart and appropriate farming techniques, and application of database in farming.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said that wheat, rice and potato are the world’s three major staple foods. He said that potato production in Gujarat has increased from 6-lakh metric tonnes to 37-lakh metric tonnes during the last 15 years. He said that north Gujarat and Banaskantha district is the major potato growing region if the country. The government has paid Rs.26.66-crore as subsidy to build cold storage capacity of 23-lakh tonnes.
Union Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar said that India is the second largest producer of potato in the world, next only to China. He said that potato production has increased by 19 per cent in India and by 170 per cent in Gujarat during the last 11 years. It is projected to increase by 3 per cent every year, by 150 per cent by 2050. He wished the Global Potato Conclave-2020 a success. He said that there are a number of schemes for growing crop, crop insurance and pension for farmers, besides precision and natural farming.
Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said that Gujarat holds has been the king in the production of vegetables and now in potato. He called upon the agricultural scientists to develop sugar-less potato in view of large number of people suffering from diabetes in the country.
The dignitaries at the function released an informative booklet on significant research in potato and presented awards and felicitated progressive farmers in different states. They included Padma Shri Gemabhai Patel of Banaskantha district and Padma Shri Vallabhbhai of Junagadh district for developing special type of pomegranate and carrot respectively.
Those present on the occasion included ICAR Secretary Trilochan Mahapatra, Gujarat’s Agriculture Minister R.C. Faldu and Additional Chief Secretary for Agriculture Ponamchand Parmar, besides Central and State Governments Agriculture Department officers, agricultural researchers and farmers.
Source: Information Department, Gujarat