Climate change, reduced fertility of soil and rising population have posed serious challenges to the farming sector of Assam, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said on Wednesday. Replying to a discussion of his department in the assembly, Bora said the government is taking various initiatives to mitigate the impact of these challenges.
"We want Assam to feature among the top five states of India and agriculture will play a pivotal role in achieving that. Over 70 per cent of the state’s population is engaged in farming and it accounts for 20 per cent of the GDP," he said. Assam has 27.42 lakh agriculture families, of which only 0.14 per cent are “big farmers”, Bora informed the House.
"We have taken various initiatives to benefit people involved with farming. Many reforms have been initiated and an agriculture commission has also been set up," the minister said. Bora, however, said there is manpower shortage in his department, and added that the process to recruit new people is underway.
"In recent times, we have seen educated, new-generation youths getting involved in the agriculture sector. This trend increased after the Covid pandemic," he said. Bora said funds have been allocated to develop markets in various places of the state, while over Rs 4,000 crore of agriculture goods were exported from Assam during 2022-23.
"The production of rice, pulses and corn has seen an increase. We are focusing on production of corn along the Brahmaputra Valley... Assam is also becoming self-sufficient in producing paddy seeds," he said.
In a written reply to a query by Congress MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed, Bora said agriculture land in Assam has increased to 30,82,815 hectares in 2020-21 from 30,76,909 hectares in 2019-20.