December 23 to be celebrated as Farmers' Day in State

Staff Reporter

Government has five-pronged plan to strengthen agricultural sector

Chief Minister makes announcement in response to farmers' demandOrder to be issued soon after Cabinet discusses subjectGovernment to promote organic farming

BANGALORE: Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy on Thursday said the Government would celebrate December 23, World Food Day, as Farmers' Day. He was responding to a demand from farmers that the Government should celebrate Farmers' Day on the lines of May Day. He said the issue would be discussed in the next Cabinet meeting and an order issued.

He was speaking after presenting the `Krishi Pandita' and crop awards to farmers, for three years, at the Banquet Hall of the Vidhana Soudha.

The Government had devised a five-pronged approach to strengthen the agricultural sector and improve productivity, the Chief Minister said. Perhaps the five-year plans and the Green Revolution had adversely affected the lives of farmers and soil productivity, he said, adding that, therefore, the Government would focus on strengthening organic farming.

The five-pronged approach, Mr. Kumaraswamy said, would include improvement of soil health and fertility, protection of natural resources, on-time loans for farmers, protection of farm produce after harvesting and transfer of technology from laboratories to fields. Soil fertility cards would be issued to all farmers in 27,000 villages in the State within three years, the Chief Minister said. As a short-term measure four mobile soil-testing kits would be provided at each Raitha Samparka Kendra.

Farmers would be given loans at four per cent interest for the purchase of farm equipment such as tractors, tillers and irrigation sets.

Interaction with scientists

There would be more interaction between farmers and scientists in agricultural universities for effective transfer of technology, Mr. Kumaraswamy added.

Speaking after releasing a souvenir on the occasion, Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said the Karnataka Development Front government was the first to provide subsidy of Rs. 10,000 for the purchase of bullocks and carts. The State was the first to provide 75 per cent subsidy for the purchase of irrigation sets, he said.

Mr. Yediyurappa said the Government intended to arrest migration from rural areas by ensuring adequate prices for farm produce. A scientific pricing method would be of much help, he said.

Presiding over the function, Minister for Agriculture Bandeppa Kashempur said the Government had established its pro-farmer credentials by holding the award ceremony, which had not been held for three years.

Medical Education and Animal Husbandry Minister V.S. Acharya and Fisheries and Horticulture Minister B. Nagaraja Shetty were present.

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