Chief Minister Eknath Shinde at the NITI Aayog meeting on Sunday said the state government will step up efforts on crop diversification and achieve self sufficiency in oil seeds and pulses and other agricultural commodities.
He noted the state has laid emphasis on high yielding and high remunerative horticulture and oil seeds crops adding that the state has diverted 4 lakh hectares area of other crops and cultivable waste land to horticulture crops in the last five years.
Shinde said under the horticulture plantation programme, 26,000 farmers and 24,000 hectares are covered. The government is implementing the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH) and other centrally sponsored schemes for horticulture development.
‘’The cost norms fixed in 2015 for MIDH needs to be revised to boost the horticulture sector as the project cost is increased significantly due to rise in the prices of cement, iron and other raw materials and is no more affordable to the farmers,’’ he noted.
Shinde spelt out the strategy for self sufficiency in pulses and oilseeds. He said the area under pluses in 40.71 lakh hectares while the area under pulses in 38.85 lakh hectares. The state has made efforts to grow Soybean in the Kharif season followed by Gram in the Rabi season.
‘’Due to this cropping pattern, production and productivity of both soybean and gram have been increased since both crops fix nitrogen and reduce the use of fertilisers and improve soil texture and fertility,’’ he added.
However, Shinde argued that as blending of other oils into mustard oil is banned, mustard oil seeds are fetching good prices and have benefited farmers. He suggested that blending of other oils in safflower and other local oils should be banned as it will give a good price to farmers and boost cultivation of local oilseeds.
Shinde demanded that the state may be allowed to use varieties of more than 10 years old for pulses and 15 years old for oilseeds if seed seed of 10 and 15 years old varieties is not available. The procurement limit for the minimum support price should be increased to 50 percent of the production.