Guwahati, May 28: In a bid to eliminate the gap between the prices of farm gate and consumer prices, the Union government has developed a new platform- the e-NAM to ensure right prices to the farmers, Union minister of state for agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said here on Monday.
“One crore farmers have registered in this platform and around Rs 42,000 crore trade took place in the last one and half years through this. Over one lakh traders have also registered,” the minister said addressing a press conference here to highlight the achievements of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi led NDA government on the occasion of its fourth anniversary.
As a next step, the government will connect 22,000 small ‘Gramin Haats’ with this system by 2020, the minister also said. Shekhawat further said according to the Swaminathan Commission report, the government will ensure MSP of 1.5 times of the production cost to the farmers for 25 notified crops, which contribute 90 per cent of India’s total agriculture production.
“This is also our Budget announcement. We will implement it from the next kharif season. The procurement process will also be changed. NITI Aayog is working on that and very soon announcements will be made on that,” he said.
The Union minister said farmers across the country are under pressure, one of the reasons being they are not getting the right prices for their produce. “The farmers are under pressure, and I am saying this with responsibility that to acertain extent, they are still under pressure,” , Shekhawat said.
The Indian agriculture sector has a very complex structure and one of the reasons for the pressure on farmers is due to not getting right prices, the Union minister said. “If we want to double the income of anyone, be it an individual or a family or the country or any community, two things can be done — reduce the expenditure and increase the sources of revenue… The government is working with this two-pronged approach to increase the income of the farmers,” Shekhawat also said.
On the hurdles in providing fair prices to the farmers, he said India is a big example in the world having a huge gap between the prices of farm gate and consumer prices, due to many levels of middlemen in between.
Regarding reduction of the expenditure, the Centre has started soil testing and a total of 11 crore farmers are registered for this, so that the farmers do not incur unnecessary input costs, Shekhawat said. He said the approach of the agriculture sector was production-centric as India used to be food deficit.
“As on date, our country is food surplus. We are the largest producer of wheat, pulses, milk, fruits and vegetables, poultry, dairy and meat. We are the largest exporter of sea food,” the minister said.
Earlier, Shekhawatreviewed the agri-horticulture sector of Northeastern states in a meeting held at Vivanta Taj here.
Assam agriculture minister Atul Bora. Nagaland agriculture minister G Kaito Aye, additional chief secretary VS Bhaskar, commissioner & secretary Amlan Baruah, joint secretary (INM) Neeraja Adidam, joint secretary (DAC & FW) P.K Swain, were also present in the meeting. (With inputs from PTI)