Amid protests, PM Modi says govt working for small and medium-level farmers

Even as farmers continue to protest against the three farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the government was working for small and medium-level farmers.

Addressing a webinar on Budget provisions for the farm sector, he highlighted the various initiatives taken by the government in the Budget for the next fiscal, including increasing the target of agriculture credit to Rs 16.5 lakh crore from Rs 15 lakh crore in the current financial year.

He emphasised on effective implementation of the Budget provisions. He added that the government has taken various decisions for the benefit of 12 crore small and marginal farmers.

These small and marginal farmers will become the driving force of the rural economy, he added.

Modi also said that India of the 21st century needs post-harvest or food processing revolution, and for that, his government is initiating steps to integrate the country's agricultural produce into the global processed foods market.

"It is the need of the hour to ensure farmers' produce gets as many options in the market as possible. We have to integrate our agricultural produce into the global processed foods market," he said.

Listing out the steps taken by his government for agriculture in Budget 2021–22, he said, "India of the 21st century needs post-harvest or food processing revolution and value addition amid increasing agriculture production. It would have been good for the country had this been done two-three decades back."

"The central government has increased agriculture credit target to Rs 16.50 lakh crore—animal husbandry, dairy, and fisheries sectors have been given priority, and rural infrastructure fund-raised to Rs 40,000 crore and micro-irrigation fund doubled," he added.

"We have rolled out reforms and started production-linked incentive schemes worth Rs 11,000 crore, which will help agro-industries. Ready to eat, ready to cook, seafood, and several other items are being promoted."

Highlighting the need for private sector participation, he said, "It is time the private sector increases its participation in research and development in the agriculture sector. It should not be limited to just seeds, but a holistic scientific ecosystem associated with one crop, the entire cycle."

Ensuring profit for the smallest farmers, he added that with food processing, "we must also focus on helping the smallest farmers with modern technology."

(With inputs from ANI and PTI)

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