Indian agriculture must become profitable to boost farmers’ income and attract youth to the farm sector as loan waivers cannot be sustained, according to eminent scientist M S Swaminathan. He also pitched for including pulses under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) to deal with the issue of deficiency of protein and micro-nutrients. Speaking at an agri conference organised by Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), he said the country should move from food security to “nutritional security for all”. “Indian agriculture is facing challenge of climate change. Income of farmers is not going up. There is a continuous demand for loan waivers,” he said. Stating that loan waivers cannot be sustained, Swaminathan said Indian agriculture must become profitable and help raise farmers’ income. “Youth should get attracted to the agriculture sector,” he emphasised.
States like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have announced debt waiver for farmers in view of distress because of fall in prices of agri-produce on bumper output. Swaminathan said Indian agriculture sector is having a number of anomalies such as Green Revolution and farmer suicides; bumper production and millions of people going hungry, and agriculture progress and problem of malnutrition. He also stressed on promoting farming with sea water in coastal areas as only 3 per cent of total water is fresh and the rest is sea.
Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala said the country needs to boost oil seeds production as imports are hurting the farm sector as well as the country’s economy. He is of the view that the country has almost achieved self-sufficiency in production of pulses, but there is a need to sustain at this production level. Rupala reeled out several initiatives of the government to double farmers’ income such as soil health card, crop insurance scheme and linking of 540 mandies on electronic platform.