The Uttar Pradesh government claimed that agricultural growth rate in the state increased to 7.8 per cent in 2017-18 as compared to 5.6 per cent in 2015-16 and in the process, UP leaped from 17th position in 2017 to 3rd position in India’s agricultural production scenario.
This was disclosed by Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi in the Assembly during Question Hour on Thursday.
However, Samajwadi Party member Manoj Kumar Pandey claimed that a government agency had said that 40 per cent of UP’s farmers were suffering losses in the agriculture sector.
The minister said that media analysis indicated that UP had jumped to the third spot in agricultural production in the country from the 17th position it held during SP regime.
“The growth rate in agriculture sector is increasing by the day. This has been possible due to steps taken by the government to facilitate farmers to double their income as per the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Shahi said.
However, in the written reply, the minister said that the number of small and marginal farmers in the state had increased to 2.21 crore in 2015-16 from 2.15 crore in 2011-12.
When the opposition grilled him on this figure, Shahi refused to reply.
In reply to a specific question by opposition members, that farmers of UP are not accepting soil health cards and are not changing crop patterns as per recommendation, Shahi said that till date 1.5 crore farmers had been issued soil health cards in the state.
The Agriculture Minister said that for Bundelkhand, the government had prepared a roadmap to increase agri-production by 70 per cent by 2022.
In reply to another question of SP member Manoj Kumar Paras, Shahi said that under Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Kisan Samriddhi Yojana, except for Bundelkhand, 1,71,186 hectares of barren land in 68 districts would be turned into farm land by 2021-22. He said the government had earmarked Rs 477.33 crore for this project.
The minister said that as per figures of 2015, of the total 241.70 lakh hectare of land, 24.96 lakh hectares was barren.