Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday urged farmers to produce oilseeds in place of other crops as India particularly imports edible oil and palm oil.
“We are telling farmers which crops will give them a better price in the area. We are also telling them what all crops can be irrigated or cannot be irrigated on the rain-fed land,” she said while addressing the sixth World Congress on Rural & Agriculture Finance in New Delhi.
“The support price may be given for other things but please do produce oilseeds because they have a great demand in India. Edible oil consumption is also a matter of great concern, as we still import quite a lot quantity particularly palm oil,” she said.
The Union Minister also requested National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Chairman Dr Harsh Kumar Bhanwala to visit Jammu and Kashmir to ensure that the farmers get the correct price of their produce in the next season.
“You are aware that recently we used NAFED to procure apples from Jammu and Kashmir so that there is no single farmer left with his unsold apples. I am ensuring that I will take the Chairman of NABARD to Jammu and Kashmir so that the agri producers can get the right price for their next crop of saffron, peaches and walnuts,” she added.
The Union Minister also stated that the Central government is making efforts to push sustainable and renewable energy sources in rural areas in order to provide farmers with an additional source of income.
“I want anna datta to be urja datta also. We are working in a direction where we can install solar panels, turbines etc so that farmers can generate power on those pieces of land where they are unable to grow the produce,” she said.
Sitharaman also announced that 10,000 farmers produce organisations will be formed so that the agriculturalists can get the correct price for their produce and also “credit and other assistance from the government can be extended to them.”
After Sitharaman’s address, the NABARD Chairman also spoke to ANI about the upliftment of farmers and said that his organisation will ensure that cooperative banks and rural regional banks give short term loans and credit to the farmers for growing oilseeds.
“We will ensure that cooperative banks and rural regional banks have enough credit to lend short terms loans to farmers for growing oil seeds. We will fix the scale of finance for producing oilseed crops. Also, we will provide an alternate approach to farmers so that they can get good income by producing oilseeds. We can encourage farmers in rain-fed areas to grow the same,” he said.
“With the help of agricultural universities, we will focus on agriculture extension in Jammu and Kashmir. With the help of digital platforms, we will deliver the produce to bulk buyers, so that farmers of Jammu and Kashmir get better prices of their produce,” the NABARD Chairman added.