Farmers have given bumper yield to the country during COVID-19: Narendra Singh Tomar

New Delhi: Mr Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Govt of India today said that the agriculture sector has performed well even during the lockdown due to COVID-19 and the farmers have been able to provide a bumper and quality yield to the country.

Addressing a FICCI webinar on “Impact and Implications of COVID19 on Agrochemicals Industry & Draft Order for Banning of 27 Molecules”, Mr Tomar said the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion & Facilitation) Ordinance 2020 and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 announced by the Government of India are landmark reforms for the agriculture sector.

He said that these ordinances will provide farmers the independence to sell their produce at their chosen place at a better price to prospective buyers. As part of the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, these ordinances will give a boost to the income of farmers while benefitting the agriculture sector and allied activities. Speaking on draft order for banning of 27 molecules, Mr Tomar said that he has taken a note of the industry’s concern and will accordingly respond to it.

The Minister said that realising the need to combat the negative impact of COVID-19 on the industry and to support farmers and safeguard their production from adverse impact of declining international commodity prices, the government has taken various steps. The government has procured grains from farmers, provided targeted support to farmers and vulnerable sections of the society through rationalization of subsidies combined with better social safety net through insurance and universal financial inclusion, he added.

Mr Atish Chandra, Joint Secretary (Extension and PP), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India said that the Pesticide Management Bill, 2020 has been laid in the Rajya Sabha. The government is open to all suggestion of the industry and is ready for mutual discussions.

Speaking about the Udan and Krishi Udan schemes, Mr Amber Dubey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Government of India said that these endeavours have enabled farmers of the country to be connected with not just the bigger cities of India but also with the world. During COVID-19, the important supplies reached the farthest corners of the country and India’s agri produce reached even to the Gulf.

Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI said that during the COVID-19 crisis, the agriculture sector has been a bright spot with tremendous output. The proactive steps taken by the Government of India to support farmers have been historic and will benefit the agriculture sector. “I hope that the government along with the industry will join hands to strengthen and make the agrochemicals industry self-sufficient,” she added.

Mr RG Agarwal, Chairman FICCI-Sub Committee on Crop Protection Chemicals and Group Chairman, Dhanuka Agritech Ltd. said that the 27 pesticides proposed to be banned are generic. These molecules are affordable and there are no substitutions for them. He urged the minister to reconsider the stance and informed him that the industry has made its submission to review the proposed banning of the molecules.

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