Centre contemplating launch of insurance scheme for farmers

The Centre is contemplating bringing in a viable insurance scheme for farmers given that the agriculture sector is facing a lot of challenges due to recurrent droughts, floods and other weather-related changes, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said on Thursday.

Speaking at a national dialogue on ‘Innovative Extension System for Farmers Empowerment and Welfare’ here, Mr. Singh said: “India is having a pluralistic extension system which is dominated by the public extension system which has two approaches: field extension pursued by the development departments and frontline extension pursued by the ICAR and agricultural universities through Krishi Vigyan Kendras. Our focus is on strengthening both these arms of extension.”

The Minister said the government policies of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi SinchaiYojana, the Soil Health Card Scheme, the Paramparagat Krishi VikasYojana and the proposed National Agricultural Market Scheme will revolutionise agriculture in the years to come.

Mr. Singh said besides food security, nutritional security has been a concern and this has to be dealt with appropriately. “At present, one third of global production is lost or wasted annually which is enough to feed two billion people for a year. Most food loss takes place in post-production, harvesting, transportation and storage. This is a huge loss on account of economy, environmental and societal significance. Around 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and under-nutrition remains widespread with some two billion people lacking essential nutrients like iron, zinc and vitamin A,” he added.

Mr. Singh said according to a U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation estimate, world food production must rise 60 per cent to keep pace with the demographic change. Whereas the International Panel on Climate Change predicts that crop yields may decline by 10-20 per cent by 2050.

“As the holdings are getting smaller, the farmers need models which could ensure food security as well as regular flow of income from their land…all these issues are the main concerns of extension for future,” he added.

‘Agriculture sector is facing a lot of challenges due to recurrent droughts and floods’

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