Minister for Agriculture Pocharam Srinivas Reddy on Monday stated that the vision of the State Government was to make agriculture a profitable vocation by extending help to the farming community at every level.
Speaking in the Assembly as part of the discussion on voting of demands for grants, the Minister said the ultimate goal of the Government was to make farmers economically strong so that they were not required to approach banks for investment credit before every season and also extending other support from soil testing to sale of the produce at best possible price.
The Minister stated that the allocation to agriculture sector was ₹ 7,184 crore including the funding from NABARD which was not reflected in the budget estimates. He announced that the Centre had sanctioned 600 mini soil testing laboratories to the State.
Minister for Marketing T. Harish Rao explained that the State Government could only make recommendations to the Centre on fixing minimum support price for various crops and the prices of farm produce would also depend on the national and international market conditions.
Citing the example of cotton, the Minister stated that against the support price of ₹ 4,160 per quintal the farmer had secured ₹ 5,000 to ₹ 6,000 per quintal due to slump in its production in the northern States and virus attack to the crop in neighbouring Pakistan. However, the fate of redgram was different this year due to ban on its exports, lining up imports from Africa and bumper production this year.
He told the Assembly that a marketing reforms bill was being readied to control the middlemen and minimise the role of commission agents.
The Agriculture Minister stated that the Horticulture Department would take up production of pure (adulteration-free) turmeric, chilli and masala powders by setting up a processing plant and they would be supplied to anganwadi centres, government hostels and residential schools to start with.
Minister for Civil Supplies Eatala Rajender said that a decision on the issuance of new ration cards would be taken soon.
Meanwhile, the Assembly approved grants of nine demands of commercial taxes, revenue, civil supplies, excise, transport, home, agriculture, cooperation and animal husbandry departments with a voice vote.