New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday underlined the need to provide better prices for agri produce, and timely and affordable credit to farmers, saying it was a crucial requirement to sustain agriculture in the country.
Citing a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report about an impending global food crisis, he said that if farmers are provided timely assistance, India will not only remain self-sufficient but also feed the world in the years to come.
Praising farmers for increased food grain production last year despite the severe hardship caused by the Covid pandemic, Naidu said there was a need to focus on increasing storage capacities, removing restrictions on crop transportation and encourage food processing to make agriculture more remunerative.
'Farmers need to focus on cost-cutting along with increasing production. We also need to utilise our resources such as water and electricity more judiciously,' Naidu said at a book launch event in Hyderabad.
The vice president, according to an official statement, said villages and agriculture are intrinsically connected and 'we must address their issues holistically to bring 'Gram Swarajya' to the villages'.
He also suggested the creation of strong lab-farm links to ensure fruitful outcomes for farmers.
Naidu urged scientists to develop climate and drought-resistant seed varieties.
Referring to the growing urban-rural divide, Naidu said villages should not be seen as mere 'factories supplying food to the cities'.
In order to achieve Mahatma Gandhiji's dream of 'Gram Swarajya', he called for a renewed national effort through collaboration of civic society, agriculturalists, agronomists, students and researchers to make agriculture profitable and villages thriving economic hubs.
Naidu wanted people to return their roots and work with fellow villagers on solving long-standing problems.
With rising costs of inputs in agriculture, he suggested natural and organic farming which offers great potential in cutting down costs and generating a steady income for farmers.
He added that the increasing demand for organic products provided an opportunity to farmers to take up natural farming in a big way.
Naidu also wanted farmers to diversify into allied sectors such as poultry, dairy farming, fisheries, horticulture, aquaculture and pisciculture to ensure regular income. He observed that farmers who diversify their production are less likely to face losses when the crop fails. PTI NAB ANB ANB