Calling for second Green Revolution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on asked the farming community to adopt scientific methods to enhance foodgrain production particularly of pulses which India has to import because of shortages.
He said Indian farmers are still lagging behind in terms of availability of good quality seeds, adequate water, power, availability of right price and market for their produce.
“Unless we prepare a balanced and a comprehensive integrated plan, we will not be able to change the lives of farmers,” he said in Hazaribagh while laying foundation stone of Indian Agricultural Research Institute.
Emphasising the need for use of scientific methods for farming to increase productivity, Mr. Modi said it was high time that the country goes for the second Green Revolution as the first such revolution took place long back.
Noting that eastern India has the potential to bring about the second Green Revolution, Mr. Modi said, “It can take place in eastern U.P., Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Odhisa.”
Pitching for “per drop, more crop”, Mr. Modi stressed the need for research in the field of agriculture to determine the health of soil and its needs in terms of seeds, water quantity, amount of fertilisation etc.
He said the government was taking steps to train youth in soil testing so that such labs could be set up on the pattern of pathological labs for humans. “This will also lead to job creation,” he added.
Turning to pulses, he said India has to import these because of shortfall in production and noted that a special package has been given to farmers engaged in cultivation of pulses.
“The production of pulses in the country is very low and I urge farmers that if they have five acres of farming land, use four acres for other crops but cultivate pulses on at least one acre,” Mr. Modi said.
High production would help in reducing pulses import and availability of the commodity to poor people of the country, the Prime Minister said.
His appeal assumes significance as output of pulses is expected to be lower this year as against growing demand.
India imports about 3-4 million tonnes of pulses annually to meet domestic demand. The country produces about 19 million tonnes of pulses.
The production of pulses is estimated to have fallen to 17.38 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from 19.25 million tonnes in the previous crop year due to deficient monsoon last year and unseasonal rains and hailstorms during March-April this year.
Mr. Modi also emphasised on the need to focus on enhancing food grain production by adopting scientific methods.
“Research is important in the agriculture sector. And this cannot happen only in one place... We have to see how can we make our agriculture more scientific and increase productivity and solutions are there for these issues,” Mr. Modi said.
He said the condition of the agriculture sector was not good in India as it was left on farmers’ fate. So, while farmers world over have made progress, in India they are still lagging behind because of this attitude, the Prime Minister said.
“Unless we make a comprehensive integrated plan for all the things including fishery, dairy production, bee keeping and honey production, we would not be able to change the economic situation of villages and lives of farmers,” he said, adding “That is why the central government is taking steps to make agriculture modern and scientific.”
He said the “issue of concern” is how to increase the per hectare production. “It’s not that we do not have solutions or we cannot have solutions. Through government policies, through training, resources should be provided and we can make agriculture modern and scientific“.
Noting that population is increasing and land is declining, Mr. Modi said, “In this situation, if we do not increase the productivity, then neither will we be able to feed the country adequately nor provide income to farmers... That is why there is a need to change the conventional and traditional way of farming and do more research.”
A scientific field assistant measures crop growth in a wheat field inside the campus of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi, March 20, 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to promote a "per drop, more crop" approach to farming to make better use of scarce water, and aims to have a new satellite crop monitoring system working in time for the peak of this year's monsoon in July. Picture taken March 20, 2015.