Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar (Image: Twitter)
The Centre will increase the farmer database from the current 5.5 crore to 8 crore by December this year with the support of states, Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.
In a video conference with the state chief ministers, Tomar asked state governments to create a database for the state using the federated farmer database prepared by the central government and allow linkage to the state land record database.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has created a database of 5.5 crore farmers and it will be increased to 8 crore farmers by December 2021 with the help of state governments,” an official statement quoted Tomar saying in the conference.
Noting that agriculture has to be linked with digital technology, scientific research and knowledge, the minister emphasised that both the Centre and states must work together for agriculture to give a boost to the economy.
He also said with the establishment of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs), Mandis and start-ups will get loans easily.
In the conference, digital agriculture and use of emerging technology for smart agriculture was discussed and the concept of farmers’ database was explained.
According to the statement, a national farmer database is being created by taking data from existing schemes like PM-KISAN, soil health card and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana. The database will have connectivity to the state land records database.
Stating that there is an increase in farm exports, Union Food and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said, “India is emerging as a trusted export partner and there is further scope for improvement of agri-exports.”
He emphasised that the infrastructure needs to be strengthened for storage and warehousing.
The objectives of the conference were to highlight the salient features of “Atmanirbhar Krishi” (self-reliant agriculture sector) and to enable states to enhance farmers’ income. It was also an occasion to share innovative initiatives undertaken by the states.
The discussion with the states centred around the Rs 1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund set up to drive infrastructure investment.
The recent modifications in the scheme were explained – the eligibility has been extended to APMCs, state agencies, national and state federations of cooperatives, FPOs and self help groups.
The eligible activities were explained like community farming, assets, post-harvest management projects and primary processing.
In the conference, the need to make India self-reliant in edible oils and palms was stressed and the role of the states was discussed.
The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) and the saturation of Kisan Credit Card for small and marginal farmers was also discussed. Upgradation of the beneficiary database was emphasised.
There was discussion on export of agriculture products and the role of APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) in increasing agriculture exports.
The states were told that APEDA will facilitate cluster centric capacity building exercises for state officials, FPOs, farmers, start-ups, etc.
The first day of the two-day conference saw the participation of Chief Ministers and Agriculture Ministers of States like Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Goa.
Two junior Agriculture Ministers Kailash Choudhary and Shobha Karandlaje, Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agarwal, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey were among other senior officials present in the conference.