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Despite the pandemic, record production by farmers: President

New Delhi, Jan 31, 2022- Despite the Covid pandemic, Indian farmers produced more than 30 crore tonnes of food grains and 33 crore tonnes of horticulture produce in 2020-21 even as the government made record procurement to match the record production, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Monday.

“I would like to give maximum credit to the small farmers of the country for this consistent success and strengthening the agriculture sector,” President Kovind said in his speech on the first day of the Budget session.

“My government is working continuously to empower the farmers and the rural economy of the country. The government procured 433 lakh metric tonnes of wheat during the Rabi season benefiting about 50 lakh farmers. A record quantity of about 900 lakh metric tonnes of paddy was procured during Kharif season, benefiting one crore 30 lakh farmers,” he said.

Stating that agriculture exports have also reached a record level due to the efforts of the government, he said, “Agricultural exports registered a growth of more than 25 per cent in the year 2020-21, and have reached nearly Rs three lakh crore.”

Because of the incentives provided to honey production, domestic production of honey has reached 1,25,000 metric tonnes in 2020-21, President Kovind said and pointed out that it is an increase of about 55 per cent compared to 2014-15. “Export volume of honey has also grown by more than 102 per cent as compared to 2014-15,” he said.

The government endeavoured new avenues of prosperity for the farmers by launching Kisan Rail Seva, wherein, during the Corona period, Indian Railways operated over 1,900 Kisan Rails on more than 150 routes to transport perishable food items like vegetables, fruits and milk, thereby transporting about six lakh metric tonnes of agricultural produce.

“Soch nayi ho to purane sansadhano se bhi naye raste banaye jaa sakte hai (If we think in an innovative manner, we can work wonders even with old resources,” he said.

Asserting that the interests of the small farmers, who constitute 80 per cent of the farmer-community, have always been central to our government, the President said, “Under the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi, Rs 1.80 lakh crore have been provided to more than 11 crore farmer families.”

The small farmers of the country have also benefited from the new changes in the crop insurance scheme, wherein more than Rs 1 lakh crore has been given as compensation to about eight crore farmers since these changes were introduced.

The other achievements listed by the President included how, thousands of projects have been approved under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund having a corpus of Rs one lakh crore; the launch of National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm with an outlay of Rs 11,000 crore and special efforts for organic farming, natural farming and crop diversification.

“The United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets. My government will celebrate the International Year of Millets on a large scale with farmers, Self-Help Groups, FPOs, food industry and the common citizen,” the President said.  (Agency)

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