The Rajasthan government on Thursday signed 38 MoUs with private companies with an estimated investment potential of R4,400 crore in the areas of agriculture and allied sectors like animal husbandry, fisheries, cold chains and agro-tourism.
“We would ensure that these MoUs are implemented on the ground within one year which would eventually boost farmers’ income,” Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said, after signing the MoUs at the first Global Rajasthan Agri-Tech Meet (GRAM) 2016, organised jointly by the state government and Ficci here.
The three-day mega global event which commenced on Wednesday is expected to be attended by more than 50,000 farmers. Besides, more than 200 global and Indian companies are showcasing technical their knowhow at the event. Raje said, instead of looking at bigger investments in the agriculture sector, the state government’s focus has been to ensure smaller investments at the village level which would provide the much-needed value addition to farmers’ produce. The companies which signed the MoUs with the state government include investment by Tractor and Farm Equipment (TAFE), Mahindra and Mahindra, LTC commercial company, Baba Ramdev Agro Processing, Venky’s India and Shree Ram Mega Food Park.
The biggest investment commitment of R970 crore was made by TAFE, which would set up a centre of excellence —Jfarm — an advanced agri-research centre in collaboration with the Rajasthan government and also build six custom hiring centres across the state.
Raje later told FE that the state government is committed to transform its agricultural landscape by actively promoting global best practices.
“With surplus production of foodgrain, milk and pulses, we would adopt multiple innovations such as digital soil mapping, use of drones for effective input management, employing innovative protected cultivation methods, zero budget natural farming or technology enabled traceability systems,” she said.
Raje admitted that unlike her Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who had started pushing the agriculture sector more than a decade ago, her state has started to give thrust on increasing farmers’ income only since last one year or a year ago. “Being a water-deficient state, we have started to identify areas where less water-intensive crops could be grown in the place of water-dependent paddy and wheat,” she added.