Stressing the need to reduce imports of edible oils and pulses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called on companies to come forward and help farmers increase domestic production of these essential food items. Addressing a webinar on the positive impact of the Union Budget 2022 on the agricultural sector, the Prime Minister urged Indian companies to help brand and promote Indian millets.
He also spoke of “a huge opportunity” for the corporate world in the field of nano-fertilizers that will “change the game”. The Prime Minister called on startups and private investors to establish an all-India network of soil testing labs and said there is a need to sensitize farmers so that they continue to have their agricultural soils tested regularly.
Modi said the objective of the Union Budget 2022-2023 was to make Indian agriculture modern and smart, and highlighted the seven-pronged strategy outlined in the document presented to Parliament on February 1 by the finance minister. Nirmala Sitharaman. He added, “There is a huge demand for pulses and oilseeds in our country. The business world should come forward. It is an assured market for you (the companies). What is the need to import? Companies, the prime minister said, can make deals with farmers to buy pulses and oilseeds. He noted that the agricultural insurance system provides protection against crop losses.
“There should be a study of India’s food needs,” Modi said, emphasizing meeting all food needs through domestic production, rather than imports. He said the government aims to increase domestic edible oil production by 50% in the coming years.
It should be noted that India imports 60-65% of its edible oil needs. According to industry data, the country’s edible oil import bill soared to Rs 1.17 lakh crore in the 2020-21 oil year ending October 2021, from Rs 72,000 crore it a year ago.
Modi said the government’s aim was to increase farmers’ incomes and reduce the cost of inputs. Referring to the budget, he said it aims to make Indian agriculture “modern and smart”. Seven major pathways, including promotion of natural agriculture along the Ganges, have been suggested in the budget to achieve the target, he added.
The Prime Minister called on agricultural universities and agricultural scientists to make efforts to raise awareness about natural and organic farming. He pointed out that over the past seven years, his government has launched many new systems and improved old ones for the entire agricultural value chain, from seed to market.
Modi said the agriculture budget had increased significantly in just six years and agricultural loans had also increased 2.5 times in seven years.
First post: STI