Odisha government has initiated steps to bring out an updated and dynamic "Agricultural Policy" keeping in tune with the changing conditions of agriculture and its market. A high-level intersectoral meeting to discuss the matter was held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi in the secretariat conference hall on Tuesday wherein Principal Secretary Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Sourav Garg outlined the issues for discussion.
The Chief Secretary directed to focus on enhancing farmers' income through appropriate production and marketing strategies. He further directed to create an ecosystem for the flourishing of Farmer Producer Groups and mobilising private investment in the sector. The departments were asked to give their inputs for further development of the draft policy within two weeks.
Development Commissioner Asit Kumar Tripathy, who was present in the meeting, meanwhile, said the policy should be oriented towards crop diversification, value addition and market linkages. Agriculture Production Commissioner Gagan Kumar Dhal advised developing calamity resilient seeds and agricultural practices.
Discussion in the meeting showed that in the last few years, Odisha has made unprecedented progress in agriculture and allied sector through concerted interventions of the government. Public investment in agriculture reached Rs.17, 000 crores in 2018-19. State Government has taken pioneering steps like rolling out an exclusive budget for agriculture and formation of separate agri-cabinet.
As a result, State has become a surplus producer of food grains producing 117 lakh MT of food grain in 2016-17 with 25 lakh MT surplus in rice. Keeping pace with changes in the market, the state has also significantly increased its horticultural and livestock productions. The state has achieved the fastest growth rate in the country in enhancing the monthly income of the farmers between 2002-03 to 2015-16. During this period, the monthly average income of Odisha farmer has increased from Rs.1062 to Rs.7731 indicating a growth of 16.5 per cent against the national growth of 11.7 per cent.
Replying to a media query after the meeting, Principal Secretary Garg said that Odisha Agricultural Policy was framed in the year, 2013. "Meanwhile, six years have passed. New technologies and marketing conditions have also emerged. In view of all these, the new updated policy is being worked out. The vision of the policy is to harness the agriculture potential of the State in a sustainable manner and raise farmers' income continuously while ensuring nutritional security." Available information show, the draft policy is being worked out through a wide process of consultation with experts, universities, civil society bodies and farmers' groups. The policy recommends sector wise interventions for overcoming the difficulties faced in the last few years and maximizing of the outcomes.
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