Coimbatore, Dec 17 (PTI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday advocated a shift in the attitude of governments, Legislatures and Parliament towards the farmers, who are not only working for themselves, but also for the country.
In his address at the 41st convocation of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University here, Naidu said, 'we need to understand that farmers and agriculture are facing the vagaries of monsoon and we must all extend support.' There has to be a shift in the attitude of the government, Parliament, Legislatures, Niti Ayog and Media towards the farmers and everybody should give due attention to their problems, he said.
Noting that agriculture has always been an integral part of not only our economy but also our culture and civilization, he said with more than 50 percent of our population still dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, this sector is the backbone of our rural economy.
Therefore, the need of the hour is to make farming climate-resilient, profitable and productive, while ensuring food and nutritional security to millions of people, the Vice President asserted.
While all the other sectors contracted during the COVID- 19 pandemic period, agriculture industry alone performed well and provided vital support to the economy, he pointed out.
In fact, there was no impact of COVID-19 on the area covered under kharif crops.
The timely prepositioning of inputs by the government like seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, machinery and credit has made it possible for larger coverage during the lockdown conditions, he said.
Food grain production is pegged at a record 144.52 million tonnes in the 2020-21 kharif season as against 143.38 million tonnes during 2019-20, notwithstanding COVID-19 crisis, Naidu said and saluted the farmers for displaying indomitable spirit and dedication even during the most difficult times.
He expressed concern over water tables going down and irrigation sources getting increasingly polluted, posing a major challenge for increasing agricultural production, especially in a water-scarce state like Tamil Nadu.
Naidu called for breeding efforts to develop drought- tolerant genotypes and water saving technologies.
'It is pertinent to appreciate Tamil Nadu for bagging the Best State Award for Water Management for the year 2019 from the Ministry of Jal Shakti, which I presented on November 11.
The performance of Tamil Nadu in Agriculture and allied activities over the years has been exemplary not only in terms of production but also in terms of adoption of new high yielding varieties and technologies resulting in highest productivity,' he said.
The direct impact of climate change over the next few decades will be on agriculture and food systems.
The situation calls for development of climate resilient crops, varieties which can withstand abroad-spectrum of stresses such as drought, flood, submergence, heat, cold, salinity, insect-pests and diseases.
To augment the farmers' income, the VP said we must strive to improve productivity, efficiently use resources, increase cropping intensity and diversify to high value crops.
Every effort must be made to ensure that the farmers receive remunerative prices through better storage and processing and efficient market mechanisms for farm inputs, financing, and sale of output.
Also, it is our sacred duty to protect the environment and pass on a safer and greener planet to future generations, Naidu added. PTI NVM ROH ROH