Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government has initiated steps to bring out an updated and dynamic Agricultural Policy keeping in tune with the changing conditions of agriculture and agricultural market.
A high-level inter-sectoral meeting for the purpose was held under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi at the Secretariat today wherein Principal Secretary Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Sourav Garg outlined the issues for discussion.
The Chief Secretary directed the officials to focus on enhancing farmers’ income through appropriate production and marketing strategies. He further directed to create ecosystem for flourishing of Farmer Producer Groups and mobilizing private investment in the sector.
The departments were asked to give their inputs for further development of the draft policy within two weeks. Development Commissioner Asit Kumar Tripathy added, the policy should be oriented towards crop diversification, value addition and market linkages. Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhal advised to develop calamity resilient seeds and agricultural practices.
According to the discussion in the meeting, last year Odisha has made unprecedented progress in agriculture and allied sector through concerted interventions of Government.
The public investment in Agriculture has reached Rs 17,000 crore in 2018-19. The state Government has taken pioneering steps like rolling out an exclusive budget for agriculture and formation of separate Agri-Cabinet. As a result, State has become a surplus producer of food grains producing 117 lakh MT of food grain in 2016-17 with 25 lakh MT surplus in rice.
Keeping pace with changes in market, the State has also significantly increased its horticultural and live stock productions. State has achieved fastest growth rate in the country in enhancing monthly income of the farmers between 2002-03 to 2015-16. During this period, the monthly average income of Odisha farmer has increased from Rs.1062/- to Rs.7731/- indicating a growth of 16.5% against the national growth of 11.7%.
Replying to a media query after the meeting, Principal Secretary Sri Garg said that Odisha Agricultural Policy was framed in the year, 2013. Meanwhile, six years have passed. New technologies and marketing conditions have also emerged. In view of all these, the new updated policy is being worked out. Sri Garag added, the vision of the policy is to harness agriculture potential of the State in a sustainable manner and raise farmers’ income continuously while ensuring nutritional security.
Available information show, the draft policy is being worked out through a wide process of consultation with experts, universities, civil society bodies and farmers’ groups. The policy recommends sector wise interventions for overcoming the difficulties faced in last years and maximizing of the outcomes.