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PM assails atmosphere of despair over farm commodity prices


  New Delhi, Assailing "atmosphere of despair and misinformation' over farm commodity prices, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the government was working with the state governments on raising the Minimum Support Price (MSP) to one-and-a-half-times of the production cost. He indicated that the input cost will be computed at C2 cost which will take into account expenses on hired and family labour, machinery, livestock, seeds, fertiliser, irrigation and power costs, land revenue, interest on working capital etc. "This will be a big step,' he said. Addressing a huge gathering of farmers, scientists and experts at the Krishi Unnati Mela, the Prime Minister urged farmers to adopt new technologies in agriculture and use modern techniques to change the way farming is done so as to achieve the goal of doubling their income by 2022 when the country celebrates 75 years of its Freedom. Mr Modi said nothing was impossible to achieve when the target was clear. With revolutions in green (crop), white (milk), blue (fish), sweet (honey), organic and water the goal of doubling farmers income by 2022 was possible, he said. The Prime Minister described as `a new chapter' his launching of e-marketing in organic farming on the occasion and said the government had initiated Agriculture Marketing Reforms to integrate local markets with wholesale to global markets so that farmers can sell their produce in a radius of five to six kilometres. Repeatedly asking farmers to visit the 800 stalls at the fair that displayed the latest technologies and gave live demonstrations, he empahasised on cluster farming and said the government had given tax exemption to Farmers-Producer Organisation. "Farmers must observe how the experiments in FPOs were doing and can be upscaled so as to enhance incomes.' Referring to the burning of crop residue in some of the north eastern states that caused large scale pollution, he asked farmers to use machine to mulch the residue to improve soil fertility and prevent pollution. He also advocated using farm waste to create wealth. ``Swastha dhara, khet hara' (Healthy earth will keep farm fields fertile). The Prime Minister spent a large part of his 45-minute address to talk about the measures taken in the union budget 2018-19 to meet the challenges in the agriculture sector including provision of 11 crore Soil Health Cards, Prime Minister's Fasal Bima Yojana, Prime Minister's Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Operation Greens for Tomato, Onion and Potato prices, Rs 10,000-crore for infrastructure in fisheries and animal husbandry and enhancement of farm credit to Rs 11-lakh-crore. Mr Modi said farmers and scientists were pillars of New India who had brought the country a long way from insufficient foodgrains to record production and ahead of others in milk, fruit and vegetables output. The government was committed to strengthening farmers with provision of modern seed, power, water, markets and fair price for commodities. Stating that agriculture was central to India's civilisation and culture, he urged farmers to take small steps to achieve the desired results, just as ants which not only produce food but enhances soil fertility. The Prime Minister asked farmers to take a pledge to achieve an India of Gandhi's dreams by 2022. On the occasion he presented Krishi Karman awards to various states for impressive production in various commodities. Madhya Pradesh won the award for high output in wheat, West Bengal in pulses, Assam in oilseeds, Bihar in coarse cereals and Punjab in paddy production. Tamil Nadu, Meghalaya and Himachal Pradesh were also honoured. A Chhattisgarh Krishi Vigyan Kendra won the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya National award for scientific technology. He launched 25 Krishi Vikas Kendras and e-market portal in organic farming. Earlier, Mr Modi went around the exhibition and took interest in stalls displaying bee-keeping, organic farming, water demonstration, solar energy use and food processing. Welcoming Mr Modi to the Mela, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh appealed to farmers' organisations and farm leaders to give up protests and agitations and appreciate government's commitment to farmers' welfare. 'Naare lagane se kuch nahi hoga. (You will achieve nothing by raising slogans). For the government the welfare schemes for farmers and doubling farmers' income by 2022 is not just a slogan,' he said. Among those present on the occasion were Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, Ministers of State Purshottam Rupala, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Krishna Raj, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Union Agriculture Secretary SK Pattanayak.

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