Centre to organise state agri secretaries meet next week

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 6 2014, 08:14am hrs
The Centre has convened a meeting of state agriculture secretaries next week to find ways to protect the interests of farmers from crop loss because of natural calamities and give them adequate compensation.

Agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh told the Lok Sabha that his ministry has convened the meeting seeking state governments' suggestions on how to deal with issues like crop damage due to droughts, floods, heat waves, cold waves and give farmers adequate compensation through crop insurance policies.

"Central government wants to involve the state governments to formulate a strategy on how to protect the interests of farmers and how to give them better returns on their agricultural produce," he said.

The minister said he had written a letter to all chief ministers on July 7 asking their suggestions on how to solve the problems in the agriculture sector and help the farmers.

"I would like to seek suggestions from all honourable MPs too in this endeavour," he said, replying to a supplementary question.

Singh said that even though some private insurance companies were engaged in crop insurance in states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat, they were

withdrawn later due to certain issues.

According to Singh, Indian agriculture is susceptible to vagaries of nature like droughts, floods, hailstorms, unseasonal rains, heat and cold waves and cyclones.

"Nearly 60% of the net sown area under rainfed farming is particularly risk prone because of inadequate, untimely and uneven distribution of rainfall which disincentivises adoption of high yielding varieties of seeds, fertilizers

and other costly inputs to maximise crop productivity," he said.

Singh said the major crops identified as risk prone to climate change are rice and wheat in the Indo-Gangetic Plains; rice and sorghum in the rainfed regions, kharif maize in irrigated zones and potato in West Bengal and the southern plateau region.

He said that under the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme, farmers get comprehensive risk coverage for standing crops against non-preventable risks like natural fire, lightning, storm, hailstorm, cyclone, hurricane, tornado, flood, inundation, landslide, drought, dry spells, pests, diseases etc.