Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today asked farmers to grow crops which are profitable and use the latest techniques to boost farm yields and income. Gadkari was addressing farmers this evening here at the ongoing ‘National Agriculture Fair’. “Farmers have to come forward for cultivation of crops which are more profitable, leaving behind farming of traditional crops. They have to adopt new techniques for the purpose,” he said. He said that India was now self-reliant as far as production of rice, wheat and other grains was concerned and, therefore, farmers should now focus on cultivation of pulses, oil seeds and those crops which are being imported. He added that the minimum support prices of main crops had increased in the past couple of years but, despite that, farmers were not getting good returns. “Prices of rice, wheat and sugar are fixed by the international market. Prices of crops are based on the principle of demand and supply. The entire world has become an open market,” he said. He said that in view of this situation, farmers should take up production of those crops which would bring more profits in the international market. “Farmers must also adopt an integrated model of farming and practice cattle rearing, fisheries and honey production along with cultivation of crops,” Gadkari said.
He informed that the Centre had decided to permit the use of ethanol as a fuel in the transport system. “Second generation ethanol can be produced from the straw of paddy. Trials to use ethanol as fuel in vehicles has been successfully conducted. The Centre has decided to give permission to use it as transport fuel,” the Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways said. Gadkari said that if the experiment was successful, ethanol production units would be set up in Chhattisgarh, benefiting farmers. Gadkari added that Chhattisgarh could become an “ethanol bowl” apart from being a “rice bowl”. He said that in view of the bumper production of paddy, a research centre should be set up based on paddy straw and paddy husk in the state.