Motihari (Bihar): Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the agriculture sector in India is characterised by small and marginal farmers, and there is a need to increase their income.
Addressing the convocation of Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa at its Piprakothi campus in Motihari in Bihar’s East Champaran district, Naidu said it should be ensured that the sector is given all the support it needs for development and sustenance.
Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) can immensely help small and marginal farmers with forward (processing, marketing and export) and backward (input and extension services) linkages in the food supply chain, he said.
He emphasised the need to promote FPOs through handholding and capacity building.
Maintaining that there is a lot of scope for food processing in India, he urged the agriculture universities to encourage farmers to form collectives.
“Indian agriculture is characterised by marginal and small farmers with fewer resources. There is a need for increasing the farmers’ income through various sources, including improved resource use efficiency,” Naidu said.
The vice president also pitched for greater use of technology in the agriculture sector.
“The developed world is already reaping benefits from the use of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture and India too must harness its potential to help improve farm income,” he said.
Hailing the record foodgrain production despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Naidu said that the country owes a lot to the hardworking farmers.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Governor Phagu Chauhan and Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi were among those present at the convocation.
Naidu arrived in Patna on Saturday on a two-day visit to the state.