Every block to have one FPO: Kailash Choudhary

| | New Delhi
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Every block to have one FPO: Kailash Choudhary

Thursday, 17 March 2022 | PTI | New Delhi

Minister of State for Agriculture Kailash Choudhary has said every block in the country will have one Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) and around 4,000 FPOs have already been set up.The minister was speaking at a FICCI seminar held late Tuesday on "Jaago Kisan Jaago" awareness programme to celebrate the World Consumer Rights Day.

 The government has approved and launched a scheme of  'Formation and Promotion of 10,000 FPOs' till 2027-28 with a total budgetary outlay of Rs 6,865 crore.

 According to a statement issued by FICCI, Choudhary emphasised on the need to connect farming with new technology.

He said farmers need better seeds, lower cost of production, storage facilities and market access.

Choudhary highlighted various steps taken by the government for the growth of agriculture sector like increase in the ministry's budget, neem-coated urea, nano fertiliser and the launch of e-NAM portal, among others.

Further, he said 10,000 FPOs are being formed countrywide to aid farmer groups jointly undertake several post-production activities.

"4,000 FPOs are already set up," he said adding "every block will have one FPO."

Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State, Parliamentary Affairs & Culture, said weather and market access are two vital areas that need special attention of every stakeholder.

 R G Agarwal, Chair of the FICCI Committee on Crop Protection and Chairman, Dhanuka Group, said the biggest challenge before the country is rising population and reducing land availability for farming.

 "We need precision agriculture today," he said and stressed on the need for sensitising farmers to new technology and innovation. "Farmers need knowledge more than subsidy today," Agarwal added.

 Agarwal also spoke about the increasing importance of pesticides and other plant protection equipment in farming and the need for genuine bio-stimulants. He alluded to several spurious bio-stimulants in the country harming farmers.

 Talking about the need for plant protection, P K Chakrabarty, Member, ASRB, Ministry of Agriculture and Former ADG (PP), ICAR, said 20-40 per cent of production is lost due to improper or no plant protection.

He said this amounts to Rs 90,000 to Rs 100,000 crore in value terms. "If we avoid this loss, we will save an amount almost equal to our agriculture budget," he said.

Chakrabarty also stated that India is the fifth largest seed market globally on the back of 49 crop research institutes of ICAR, 45 all-India coordinated projects, 77 state agriculture universities and a robust partnership with the private sector.

 A K Singh, Deputy Director General (Horticultural Science), DARE - Indian Council of Agricultural Research, underscored various tech-led initiatives that the government has taken in reaching out to farmers.

 He said that more than five crore farmers are registered on the mKisan portal and they receive regular updates, and Kisan call centres address 20,000 calls every day.          

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