NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday again advocated the need for agricultural reforms to help farmers realise better prices for their produce, vigorously pitching for setting up more and more Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) across the country to get small and marginal farmers better access to technology, input, finance and market.
“We have to expand our country’s agriculture sector into the global market for processed food. We must increase the number of agroindustry clusters near villages so that people in villages get employment related to farming in the village itself,” the PM said while addressing a webinar on effective implementation of budget provisions for the agri sector.
Addressing experts from agriculture, dairy, fisheries and other stakeholders, he emphasised the need for farmers to join hands as part of FPOs so that they could bargain for better prices.
Although the PM made no reference to the just-enacted agri laws and the protests they have sparked among sections of farmers, the thrust of his address was in concord with the government’s position that enhanced market access for farmers and incentives and opportunities for them to explore options beyond mandis would benefit the farm sector. His speech was yet another indication that the government is not going to junk the farm laws to buy peace with the protesters.
Significantly, the PM also underlined the need for increased participation of private players in the farm sector, including in research and development (R&D).
On the first anniversary of the scheme to support small and marginal farmers for creating additional 10,000 FPOs in the country, Modi said FPOs were strengthening the cooperatives. He had launched scheme in UP’s Chitrakoot on February 29 last year with a budgetary provision of Rs 6,865 crore.
Modi also emphasised the need to explore ways to leverage the ‘One District, One Product’ (ODOP) scheme to take Indian products to global markets.
These products will be promoted in a cluster approach to increase the value of the products with the ultimate aim of increasing farmers’ income.