Undeterred by deficit rainfall, farm sector achieved 17.18% growth

Undeterred by deficit rainfall, farm sector achieved 17.18% growth
Highlights

Claiming that the income of farmers in the State doubled during the last fourandhalf years because of the sustainable and innovative efforts introduced by the TDP government, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that he accorded highest priority to agriculture and allied sectors and will continue the same

Amaravati: Claiming that the income of farmers in the State doubled during the last four-and-half years because of the sustainable and innovative efforts introduced by the TDP government, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said that he accorded highest priority to agriculture and allied sectors and will continue the same.

He released a White Paper on Agriculture and allied sectors on Wednesday at at his residence at Undavalli. This is the fourth out of the 10 White Papers that are proposed to be released by the Chief Minister.

In this White Paper, Naidu discussed in detail on agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry, sericulture, dairy development, fisheries & agricultural marketing departments extensively.

He pointed out that farmer suicides reduced in a considerable manner. There were total 1986 farmers’ suicides during 2004-14 – on an average 199 per year. It was reduced to 322 during 2014-17 – an average 107 per year.

He said that the ex gratia paid had gone up from Rs 1.50 lakh to Rs.5.00 lakhs. Naidu said 62% people in the State depend on agriculture. Net cultivated area in the State is 67 lakh hectares, which includes agriculture 50.5 lakh HA and horticulture 16.5 lakh HA.

Agriculture Budget was introduced in the State in 2014-15, for the first time in the history of AP. A total of 81,554 crore budget was allocated during the last five years.

Reducing farmers debt burden of Rs 24,500 crore: So far, in 3 installments Rs 15,038 crore with 10% interest to 35.6 lakh farmers was paid. Arrangements are being made to pay final installment.

Inputs management helped in reducing investment: Soil Health Management - Soil health tests for every land holding completed on saturation basis and AP became No 1 in the country. In all, 34.65 lakh soil health cards were issued. Micronutrient replenishment implemented on saturation and 5 lakh free power remote operated pumpsets were distributed.

AP stood 2nd in maize, 3rd in cotton and paddy production in the country, he pointed out. The State government stabilised market when prices collapsed through MARKFED intervention and procured 6.16 lakh MTs of agricultural commodities by spending Rs 1,876 crore.

Whereas, the Central government through its agencies, procured only 1.69 lakh MTs of commodities at a cost of Rs 837 crore. Input subsidy was given to farmers to the tune of Rs 3,767 crore.

Draught proof measures like digging farm ponds, water harvesting structures, encouraging rain water management, micro irrigation, interlinking of rivers, saving deltas and other schemes were implemented.

Subhash Palekar’s Zero Budget Natural Farming is being encouraged on a large-scale. The ZBNF ensures higher yield, greater tolerance to dry spell and heavy rains & pest attacks and promotes soil health. So far government utilised services of 5,000 trainers for this innovative practice.

The Natural Farming University will be established in 100 acres at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore. Despite continuous deficit rainfall during the last four years, agriculture and allied sectors achieved 17.18 per cent, becoming number one in the country, Naidu pointed out.

The growth helped in doubling farmers’ income. Income on agriculture & allied sectors increased from Rs 1.28 lakh crore in 2013-14 to Rs 2.53 lakh crore in 2017-18 thus recording 97% growth in income. Sub-sectors like livestock and horticulture became growth engines of the agriculture sector and they witnessed sustained growth with each passing year.

In all, 25% growth rate was projected in agriculture sector and 30% growth rate in fisheries sector for the current fiscal. AP stands first in poultry sector, it is No.2 in producing eggs and it stands fourth in the country in meat production. It stands fifth in milk production in the country.

AP also stands first in aquaculture production in the country with 40 lakh tonnes per annum and is earning foreign exchange of Rs 23,861 crore. To encourage the sector, government is providing power subsidy of Rs 350 crore. Unit cost has been fixed at Rs 1.50 per unit.

The government was giving highest priority to the agriculture sector and the welfare of farmers, Naidu said. The problems which have been troubling the farmers over the years are being well addressed through a systematic and holistic approach, he added.

Every effort is being made to make agriculture in the State productive, profitable, sustainable, and climate resilient through building the partnerships with the farmers, research organisations and all stakeholders.

The primary focus is on cost reduction and increasing productivity by strengthening the extension system through IoT, introducing new seed varieties or hybrids, adopting appropriate farm mechanisation tools, resource conservation technologies and focusing on soil test-based fertiliser use to maintain sustainable soil health, the Chief Minister said.

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