Need to look at agriculture as another industry: Prabhu

Need to look at agriculture as another industry: Prabhu

Agency News

New Delhi, Feb 4: There was a need to look at agriculture as another industry, for which all the stakeholders should work together for the success of sector, said Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu.

''We need to look at agriculture as another industry, for which all the stakeholders should work together for the success of sector. Industrialists must also venture into agriculture which will benefit the farmers and in turn will increase the earnings of the farmers,'' he said in his address at the first state level awareness programme on agriculture export policy.

The Minister said the Government of Saudi Arabia was ready to provide facilities like cold chain and warehousing for import of agro and processed food products to Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar.

Indian agriculture can definitely help in increasing the GDP of the country in a big way and for this, state governments have to play a very important role in implementation of the agriculture export policy.

In order to achieve the purpose of Agri Export policy, clusters have been identified across the country for development of agriculture exports, he said.

In Maharashtra, six clusters have been identified for grapes, mango, pomegranate, banana, oranges and onion for successful implementation. Farmer Producer Organizations and co-operatives should be linked with the farmers and exporters, said Mr Prabhu.

Required infrastructure needs to be provided in these clusters and use of latest technology in agriculture has to be adopted.

He also stressed on attractive packaging in order to increase the demand for the identified products. Indian Institute of Packaging has been roped in for working on packaging standards for international markets.

The Government has recently released an Agriculture Export Policy which aims at reinvigorating the entire value chain from export oriented farm production and processing to transportation, infrastructure and market access.

The Agriculture Export Policy is framed with a focus on agriculture export oriented production, export promotion, better farm realization and synchronisation with policies and programmes of Government of India. It is required to have a “Farmers’ Centric Approach” for improved income through value addition at source itself which will help minimize losses across the value chain.

For creating awareness among the farmers, exporters and other stakeholders concerned, a first State level awareness programme on Agriculture Export Policy was organised on February 2 in Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management (VAMNICOM), Pune.

Mr Prabhu informed that the Agriculture Export Policy has been prepared jointly with the state governments and will be implemented by the concerned state agriculture and horticulture departments.

The Minister further stated that in India, agriculture and horticulture production is around 600 million tonnes per year and 30 per cent of fresh horticulture produces goes waste.

''Hence, there is an urgent need to strengthen the supply chain to avoid these losses and the products should not be confined only to our boundaries and we therefore need to explore international markets for exporting India’s agriculture produce. We have to consider the quality standards and health standards at the production level itself,'' the Minister said.

The main aim of the policy is to reach the farmers at grass-root level and increase their earnings for achieving the overall objective of the policy, he said, according to a statement here on Monday. (UNI)