New Delhi: Raising crop production, reducing cultivation costs and post-harvest losses, and reform of agriculture markets are among the focus areas of the central government to double farmer incomes by 2022, according to a blueprint released by the agriculture ministry on Friday.
Adding value to farm produce via food processing, risk mitigation through crop insurance and disaster relief, and promotion of allied activities such as horticulture and animal husbandry will be the other areas of intervention, the ministry said.
The release of the seven-point strategy follows Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech, in which he had reiterated that his government will strive to double farmers’ incomes by 2022, the 75th year of India’s Independence.
Falling crop prices and rising debt have led to farmer protests in several states since June.
Earlier in August, a panel on doubling farmer incomes set up by the government released a four-volume report which said the central government’s goal is to raise average incomes of agricultural households from Rs96,703 in 2015-16 to Rs193,406 in 2022-23 (measured at 2015-16 prices).
According to the report, India will need cumulative private and public investments of Rs1.486 trillion (at 2004-05 prices) during this period to double farmers’ incomes.
According to the seven-point strategy released on Friday, the government is seeking to raise production by improving water-use efficiency and access to irrigation.
Cost of cultivation is coming down as farmers are using soil health cards for balanced use of fertilizers and due to the use of neem-coated urea, the strategy statement said.
It added that the government is encouraging farmers to use warehouses to avoid distress sale of farm produce.
On reforming agriculture markets, the statement said that the central government has launched an electronic National Agriculture Market, or eNAM, to connect wholesale markets and is encouraging states to adopt a model marketing act which allows for setting up of private market yards.