Though India is a food surplus country, it has failed to create awareness about its products in the international market to boost agricultural exports, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said.
Addressing a workshop on “Empowering Rural Youths through Agriculture” organised by Kalyana Karnataka Human Resources, Agriculture and Cultural Association (KKHRACA) in Kalaburagi on Sunday, Ms. Karandlaje said that Indian farmers need to come up with value-added products with export potential.
She added that India currently produces 314 million tonnes of cereals and 334 million tonnes of fruits and vegetables. Despite having enormous potential for agriculture we have failed to produce edible oil in a large quantity, she reiterated that India is not self-reliant in edible oil, 70% of edible oil is imported from other countries.
The Minister called upon farmers to give priority to growing millets, as the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets, and the government’s intent is to promote staple and nutritious food products and increase their exports. The aim of the workshop is to empower rural youths through the farming sector, Ms. Karandlaje said and called upon youths to pursue careers in agriculture to make India self-reliant.
To sensitise the bureaucracy about the problems of rural areas, Ms. Karandlaje appealed to the officers of the Administrative Services to visit their native and make concerted efforts to turn their rural areas into model villages through public participation. Unfortunately, these bureaucrats forget their roots, the background from which they came and they return back to their hometowns only after retirement for contesting in elections, she regretted.
Swami Nirbhayananda Saraswathi of Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, Gadag, and Dr. M.A. Balasubramanian, Advisor, Community Processes and Comprehensive Primary Health Care, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, delivered a special lecture.
Chairman of Kalyana Karnataka Human Resources, Agriculture and Cultural Association Basavaraj Patil Sedam and legislators were present.