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“We Need To Have Futuristic Vision For Agriculture": G S Shekhawat
India’s road to a $5 trillion economy will go through farmers and agriculture said Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources
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Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, said that though agriculture contributes around 14 to 16 per cent of the Indian GDP, still has a huge potential to play a key role in taking India to a $ 5 trillion economy. Addressing the session on ‘Role of water and Agrochemicals in envisioning a globally competitive, modern, sustainable & inclusive Indian Agriculture Industry’ at the ‘9th Agrochemicals Conference’ organized by FICCI, Shekhawat said "We have started working with a profitability-centric approach in the agricultural sector with systematic reforms to make the Indian agriculture sector more successful."
“Indian economy is directly related to agriculture and agriculture is directly related to water,” said Shekhawat. In India, the management of water is of utmost importance. The government has taken a ground-breaking initiative for ensuring the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources in the country through the Atal Bhujal Yojana, he added. Elaborating further, Shekhawat said that the scheme has been designed with the principal objective of strengthening the institutional framework for participatory groundwater management and bringing about behavioural changes at the community level for sustainable groundwater resource management. “Equitable distribution in water is vital and water management key to sustainable agriculture growth in India,” said Shekhawat. It’s time that we shift our approach of water management from the supply side to the demand side, he stated.
“We need to make farmers aware of the conservation of water and taking alternative crops for cultivation and move towards micro-irrigation. With climate change and reduced water availability affecting major parts of India, an efficient irrigation system is essential to the success of the agricultural sector,” the Minister added.
Further highlighting the government initiatives, he said, that to save water and for better implementation of its crop diversification plans, the government has launched various schemes to encourage farmers to change their cultivated-crop preferences.
Urging the industry for investment in the agricultural sector, he said, the industry needs to support the government in its initiative to save water. “We need to have a futuristic vision for agriculture,” said Shekhawat. The minister also spoke about efforts being made by the centre to solve specific issues of agriculture and water and said this is high time to invest in the post-harvest system and supply chain management. “The government's call for vocal for local will provide a new roadmap to agriculture,” he further added.
Rajesh Aggarwal, Managing Director, Insecticides India limited said that the farmers need a complete solution for their crops to get the best yield. They expect the latest technology at an affordable cost. Jay Bryne, President, V Fluence said, pesticides have surpassed biotechnology, and the key challenges of the Agrochemical industry are power profit and politics. Neel Kamal Darbari, Managing Director, Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium, Govt of India said that there must be a culture that moves away from flood irrigation. The issue for policymakers and the industry is to work together in terms of creating a demand in the farmer communities on basis of water availability. RG Agarwal, Chairman FICCI - Sub Committee on Crop Protection Chemicals and Group Chairman, Dhanuka Agritech Ltd; Dr SK Goel, Former Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture and Marketing, Government of Maharashtra also put forth their views.
The inaugural session of the 9th Agrochemicals Conference also witnessed the launch of the Knowledge Report on Agrochemicals.