The Government of India tabled the crop-wise targets for the country’s food production in 2022 at the National Conference on Agriculture – Kharif Campaign 2022, organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare at National Agriculture Science Complex, New Delhi on Tuesday.
The objective of this conference was to review and assess the crop performance during the preceding crop seasons and fix crop-wise targets for Kharif season in consultation with state governments, ensure the supply of critical inputs and facilitate the adoption of innovative technologies with a view to enhance production and productivity of the crops. The priority of the government is agro-ecological based crop planning for diversion of land from excess commodities like rice and wheat to deficit commodities like oilseeds and pulses and high-value export earning crops. The government is giving high priority to crop diversification with a focus on self-sufficiency in oilseeds and pulses and promotion of oil palm. Consultations with all stakeholders like major states, researchers, industries and policy-makers have been held to finalise a National Policy Frame Work for Crop Diversification Programme in the country. All states should work towards crop diversification for making agriculture sustainable, profitable and self-sufficient in deficit commodities.
The conference set national targets for total foodgrain production at 328 million tonnes for the year 2022-23 compared to expected production of 316 million tonnes during 2021-22. The target for production of pulses and oilseeds have been fixed at 29.5 and 41.3 million tonnes respectively in 2022-23. Nutri-cereals production has to be increased from 11.5 million tonnes in 2021-22 to 20.5 million tonnes in 2022-23. The strategy would be to increase area through inter-cropping and crop diversification and productivity enhancement through the introduction of high yield varieties (HYVs) and adoption of suitable agronomic practices in low yielding regions.
Addressing the conference, Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar expressed satisfaction that as per 2nd Advance Estimates (2021-22), total foodgrains production in the country is estimated at 316 million tonnes which is an all-time record. The pulses and oilseeds productions were 26.9 and 37.1 million tonnes respectively. As per third advanced estimates, horticulture production during 2020-21 was 331 million tonnes which is the highest ever for Indian horticulture. The minister stated that the Centre and states would work together to ensure pesticide and seeds availability to reduce input costs for farmers. He urged that there should be a strategy to replace urea with nano-urea. On exports, the minister said that while agriculture exports had increased, attention should be paid on quality products so that they can compete in international markets. Exporters and farmers both should benefit.
Speaking on the occasion, Manoj Ahuja, Secretary (Agriculture and Farmers Welfare), said that the country was maintaining an increasing trend in food grain production since 2015-16. Total foodgrain production has increased by 25 per cent in the last 6 years from 251.54 to 316.01 million tonnes. Oilseeds have followed the same trend and have shown a growth of 42 per cent from 25.25 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 37.15 million tonnes in 2021-22. India’s exports of agricultural products have grown by 19.92 per cent during 2021-22 to touch $50.21 billion ( Rs 376,575 crore). The commodities like wheat, other cereals, rice (other than basmati), soya meal, raw cotton, fresh vegetable, and processed vegetables have registered the most positive growths.
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He said, “We have to accelerate the production and productivity of agriculture and horticulture sectors for ensuring food and nutritional security in the rural areas. The Government has adopted several developmental programmes, schemes, reforms and policies that focus on higher incomes for the farmers. Action Plan for three years Seed Rolling Plan (2021-22 to 2023-24) for all oilseeds with allocation Rs 381.95 crore will produce a total of 14.7 lakh quintals of quality seed of new HYVs will be produced in next three years.”
Making a detailed presentation on the strategies for crop management in Kharif season, Dr. AK Singh, Agriculture Commissioner said that country has recorded all-time high foodgrains, oilseeds and horticultural production due to timely interventions of the government. Now, special focus is given on oilseeds, pulses and nutri-cereals. Post monsoon, rainfall has been in excess of normal and about 55.76 lakh hectares were under cultivation during summer. Following government policy, there has been a reduction in area under rice with corresponding increase in pulses and oilseeds cultivation. The government has worked out requirement of seeds and fertilisers and will ensure their timely supply.
Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi, Secretary, Department of Fertilizers, deliberated on positioning of fertilisers’ supply for forthcoming season. Detailed presentations were made for new initiatives taken for increasing the production of nutri-cereals and celebrating of International Year on Millets in 2023. Cafeteria Approach under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and sub-schemes for farm mechanisation were shared for the benefits of the states. Presentations were also given on Digital Agriculture, PM-Kisan and Natural Farming.
Additional Secretary (Agriculture) and senior officers from the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) including officers from various state governments participated in the conference, focusing on India’s food production. The states of Gujarat, Assam, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh shared their progress. This was followed by an interaction session with agriculture production commissioners and principal secretaries of all the states to raise issues concerning their states for increasing area coverage, production and productivity during Kharif season.