Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today called for effective use of Digital Technology in Agriculture to improve the farmers’ income, enhance productivity and provide the last-mile connectivity.
He wanted all emerging start-ups to bridge the gaps in facilitating outreach of technology to the farmers and create the right ecosystem for Agri-Entrepreneurship in India.
Speaking at the Agri-technology & Innovation Conference in Hyderabad, the Vice President said that the use of digital devices and the associated analytics in agriculture would ensure that those farms remain environmentally relevant and sustainable especially at a time when there was an increasing concern from climate change, land depletion, water shortage and wasteful use of agro-chemicals.
Vice President Naidu said that there was an urgent need to ensure proper regulation of markets across the country, monitoring of price fluctuations, and ensuring minimum support prices to farmers. He said that the electronic-National Agriculture Market (eNAM) scheme was a step in the right direction to help the farmers.
The Vice President asked agriculture scientists to share their research with KVKs and farmers to enhance their understanding. He also wanted them to introduce best practices in the area of Apiculture, sericulture, Aquaculture, and Pisciculture to enhance their incomes.
Describing the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) as instruments to harnessing the benefits of scale in supply chains in agriculture, the Vice President said that FPOs provide the best opportunities to empower farmers to drive the democratization of markets and to realize their full economic potential.
Vice President Naidu appreciated the coming together of Universities, farmers, agripreneurs and the Industry on a common platform to discuss the challenges and possible solutions for sustainable and smart agriculture.
The Vice President urged the industry to shoulder more social responsibility and foster closer cooperation with research organizations in helping farmers move towards a more sustainable and profitable crop production system that depends little on external inputs.
Vice President Naidu also stressed the need to focus more on demand-driven innovation to help farmers to market their products efficiently and earn profits.
He appreciated the Management of Prof Jayashankar Agriculture University and CII for organizing the Agri-tech conference.
The Vice President called upon scientists, experts and technologists to find affordable and sustainable solutions to address challenges confronting Indian agriculture such as high input costs, instability in yields, low returns, debts, diminishing natural resources, growing demand for food, fragmented land holdings, and the vagaries of nature.
He said that there was an urgent need to promote climate-smart agriculture as climate change is posing a major challenge.
The Vice President stressed the need to adopt the latest technologies on all fronts from seeds to post-harvest management to marketing, to improve productivity at par with the other leading nations and also to help to enhance farmers’ income.
Pointing out that a country like India should not depend on imported food security, the Vice President called for collective efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in food production. He called for developing crops that were disease and pest-resistant and are adaptable to climate change and at the same time provide all the required nutrients.
Noting that the Indian food industry was poised for huge growth and has the potential to increase its contribution to world food trade every year, the Vice President asked for more attention towards the promotion of value addition, particularly within the food processing industry.
He urged all entrepreneurs to evolve effective models in the food processing sector after consulting the scientific community, experts and farmers.
Stating that Organic farming was the need of the hour for mitigating farm crisis and climate change issues, Vice President Naidu called for more technological tools to assist organic farmers.