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Agricultural Exports Touched Record Rs 3 Lakh Crore In 2020-21: President Kovind

Kovind said the government is focusing on making the country self-sufficient in edible oils besides making special efforts to promote organic farming, natural farming and crop diversification.

Farmers produced over 30 crore tonnes of food grains in 2020-21.
Farmers produced over 30 crore tonnes of food grains in 2020-21. Deposit Photos

President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said the country's farm production and procurement increased during the 2020-21 crop year despite the pandemic and agricultural exports reaching a record level of Rs 3 lakh crore during the same period.
      
In his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament at the start of the Budget session, Kovind said the government is focusing on making the country self-sufficient in edible oils besides making special efforts to promote organic farming, natural farming and crop diversification.
      
"My government is working continuously to empower the farmers and the rural economy of the country... I would like to give maximum credit to the small farmers of the country for this consistent success and strengthening of the agriculture sector," he said.
     
Highlighting achievements of the Modi government in the farm sector, the President said despite the pandemic, farmers produced more than 30 crore tonnes of food grains and 33 crore tonnes of horticulture produce in the 2020-21 crop year (July-June).
      
The government made record procurement with the purchase of 433 lakh tonnes of wheat during the 2021-22 rabi marketing year (April-March) benefiting about 50 lakh farmers. 
      
A record quantity of about 900 lakh tonnes of paddy was procured during the 2020-21 Kharif marketing (October-September), benefitting 1.30 crore farmers, he added.
      
"Our agriculture exports have also reached a record level due to the efforts of the government. Agricultural exports registered a growth of more than 25 per cent in 2020-21, and have reached nearly Rs 3 lakh crore," Kovind said. 

He was referring to crop year 2020-21.

Domestic honey production increased by 55 per cent 1.25 lakh tonne in 2020-21 crop year from over 2014-15 due to incentives provided by the government to boost production, he said, adding that honey production is important means of generating new sources of income for farmers. 

Honey export has also grown by more than 102 per cent as compared to 2014-15, he added. 
       
To ensure farmers get access to the right market and remunerative prices, the President said the government has endeavoured to open new avenues of prosperity for the farmers by launching Kisan Rail Seva. 
      
"During the corona period, Indian Railways operated over 1,900 Kisan Rails on more than 150 routes to transport perishable food items like vegetables, fruits and milk, thereby transporting about 6 lakh tonnes of agricultural produce," he said, adding that this is an example of how new avenues can be created from the existing resources if the thinking is innovative.
      
Stating that small farmers who constitute 80 per cent of the farmer community have always been central to the government, the President said the government has provided Rs 1.80 lakh crore under the PM-KISAN scheme to more than 11 crore farmer families. 
     
 Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is provided to the eligible farmer families, payable in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000.
      
"With this investment, the agriculture sector is witnessing major transformations today," he said, and small farmers of the country have also benefited from the new changes in the crop insurance scheme.
      
More than Rs 1 lakh crore have been given as compensation to about 8 crore farmers since these changes were introduced, he added. 
      
Mentioning that the government is also making investments at an unprecedented level for developing the infrastructure required near farmlands, Kovind said thousands of projects have been approved under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund having a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore.
      
 In order to ensure self-sufficiency in edible oil, the Modi government has also launched the National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm with an outlay of Rs 11,000 crore. The government is also making special efforts like organic farming, natural farming and crop diversification, he added. 
       
Further, the government is working on rainwater conservation. Special campaigns are being implemented for the creation of rainwater harvesting infrastructure and restoration of traditional water sources in the country. 
      
The President said 64 lakh hectares of land with irrigation facilities have also been developed in the country with the help of various projects under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana and Atal Bhu-Jal Yojana. 
       
The government has also taken forward the plans for the interlinking of rivers. Recently, the Ken-Betwa link project to be completed at a cost of Rupees 45,000 crore has also been approved. This project will be helpful in ending the water crisis in Bundelkhand.
       
That apart, Kovind shared that the United Nations has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets and the government will celebrate next year on a large scale with farmers, Self-Help Groups, FPOs, the food industry and the common citizen.

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