Agricultural universities and organisations should equip the farmers with information so that they get better prices and reduce wastage, Minister for Agriculture S. Damodaran said here on Saturday.

At a conference on ‘Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he said that farmers should have information related to market demand, stocks, and support price.

In 2011-2012, horticultural products were exported to the tune of Rs. 14,000 crore.

Information about such products that have better prospects should be given to farmers. Labour shortage is a major problem faced by the agricultural sector.

Technologies can be modified according to the current demands. Machinery and tools should be developed depending on the present day needs.

Steps

The State Government has taken several steps such as increasing water bodies, supporting sugarcane cultivation, distributing equipment at subsidised price to rural youth, and setting up farmer centres.

The State registered 101 lakh tonne food production last year. It is a leading producer of bio fertilizers in the country, with nearly 4,000 tonnes production.

K. Ramasamy, vice-chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, said that the allocation for agriculture in the State in the current Five Year Plan is higher. Efforts are on to promote cultivation of millets.

Lakshmi Narayanan, co-convener of agriculture based business and food processing panel, CII — Coimbatore, said that the university and the CII have jointly formed the agriculture forum.

It will take up activities such as industry-institute partnership. There is a need to focus on issues such as production farmers’ profitability, she said.

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