Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the government is committed to sourcing agricultural crops at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) as it is an important part of the country’s food security.
Efforts are underway to improve mandi’s infrastructure so that MSP purchases continue in a scientific manner, he said, adding that recent agricultural reforms reflect India’s commitment to security. world food.
“PSM and public procurement are an important part of the country’s food security. It is important that it continues to operate with better facilities and in a scientific manner. We are committed to it, ”Modi said after issuing a 75 rupee commemorative coin to mark the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Noting that wholesale mandis or agricultural commodity marketing committees (APMCs) have their own identity and strength, Modi said these mandis have been in place for years in the country and their infrastructure is being developed. improvement.
He said an investment of Rs 2,500 crore had been made over the past six years to strengthen Mandi’s infrastructure. Even an IT infrastructure is being built to connect mandis to the National Electronic Agricultural Market (eNAM).
“The three major recent agricultural reforms are major steps towards expanding agriculture and increasing farmers’ incomes,” he said, adding that reforms to the Essential Products Law (EC) will make mandis more competitive, improve farmers’ incomes and tackle the problem of food waste.
Additionally, Modi said earlier farmers did not have access to mandis and were forced to sell their produce to middlemen.
“Now the market will reach the doors of small farmers and guarantee higher prices. They (the farmers) will be free from middlemen and consumers will benefit too, ”he said.
The recent contract farming law will also benefit farmers by protecting them from price volatility, as they can contract to sell their products at a predetermined price with private entities before sowing. The interests of farmers are protected in the event of breach of contract, he added.
Welcoming the initiatives of farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic which has helped the country fight malnutrition, Modi said the farmers had broken the previous record for food grain production this time around. Likewise, the government has broken records in purchases of wheat, rice and pulses.
“Farmers, agroscientists, Asha Anganwadi workers have played an important role in our efforts to fight malnutrition. Even during the corona crisis, we are fighting malnutrition through their efforts, ”he said.
Over the past seven to eight months, the government has distributed a free ration worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore to 80 crore people although there is less discussion about this globally.
“The free ration given in India is higher than the population of Europe and the United States,” Modi said.
He also mentioned that the government has implemented a “One Nation, One Ration Card” ration card portability program in 28 states and union territories. Prior to 2014, the food law was only enforced in 11 states.
To fight against malnutrition, the government promotes crops with high nutritional value. Millet like ragi, jowar, bajra are promoted.
Modi, who released 17 new bio-fortified varieties of eight crops on Friday for World Food Day, said the varieties were being made available to farmers across the country and would help boost production. of crops with high nutritional value. Before 2014, only one variety reached farmers, but now 70 varieties are reaching farmers, he said.
According to him, the acceptance of India’s proposal by FAO to declare 2023 the International Year of Millet will not only promote foods with high nutritional value and their availability, but will also benefit the country’s small-scale rainfed farmers.
The United Nations agency, FAO, has been following India’s fight against malnutrition closely. Previously, efforts were made in silos, but now a multidimensional approach is being taken to address the problem of malnutrition in India, he added.
Modi also recalled the contribution of Indian Civil Servant Binay Ranjan Sen who launched the World Food Program when he was Director General of FAO from 1956 to 1967 and this program won the Nobel Peace Prize. 2020.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, State Ministers for Agriculture and senior FAO officials were present at the virtual event.
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