New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Friday asked states to focus on increasing the production of oilseeds and pulses to reduce import dependence and become self-sufficient.
The minister was addressing 'The National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2021' on April 30, 2021.
Higher production targets for pulses and oilseeds are the necessity of the nation to reduce its dependency on import and to achieve the dream of Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the minister said in a statement.
Tomar expressed 'concern over the shortage of oilseeds and pulses' and asked 'state governments to work on mission mode to overcome the shortage situation'.
The conference, held through video conference, was organised to interact with the states on challenges and strategies for effective crop management during ensuing kharif season.
During the conference, discussion was held to review and assess the preparedness for management of kharif crops and ensuring availability of seeds, pesticides, fertilisers, machinery and their prepositioning at block levels.
Besides this, discussion also took place on preparedness for drought-like situation if it occurs in any district, integrated nutrient management and pest management, crop diversification and increasing farmers' income.
The conference also deliberated on focused strategy for production of oilseeds and pulses; marketing of rabi crops and procurement at MSP, action plan and advisory/guidelines for agriculture management in the wake of COVID pandemic.
Tomar appreciated the efforts of farmers for the record production for food grains (303.34 million tonnes), which is over 1.96 per cent higher than the previous year's output (297.50 million tonnes).
The pulses and oilseed production stood at 24.42 and 37.3 million tonnes, respectively.
The minister said the agriculture sector has shown its resilience amid the adversities of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agriculture and allied sectors registered a continuous growth in GDP contribution.
The share of agriculture in GDP increased from 17.8 per cent in 2019-20 to 19.9 per cent in 2020-21 as per the Economic Survey 2020-21.
He also complimented the state governments for effective implementation of centrally sponsored schemes for the welfare of farmers.
Tomar announced the setting of higher production targets of food grains from 301.92 million tonnes to 307 million tonnes for the year 2021-22 in comparison to production targets for the previous corresponding year 2020-21.
As per the second Advance Estimates, the achievements are likely to be 303.34 million tonnes for year 2020-21.
Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Aggarwal said the department has decided to distribute seed mini-kits for kharif crops with the active involvement of the state agriculture department.
The state agriculture departments should project their demands of farm inputs to the Centre for its intervention to ensure the timely availability of seeds and fertilisers to the farmers at crucial stages of crop production. PTI MJH HRS hrs