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Interviews



 
  • Q. This is for the second time you have been entrusted the task of Agriculture Minister of the state. What are your top priorities?

    A. Rajasthan is mainly arid region. Out of 3.40 lakh hectare, nearly 1.90 lakh hectare falls under arid zone. Therefore making the state agriculture hi-tech would be my top priorities. Moreover, we do not have processing units for our produce. Setting up processing units and value addition remain in our priority list. There is acute shortage of modern processing units in the state. The food processing and cold chains would be given all the impetus.
  • Q. When you talk about introducing high technologies, are you in favour of Genetically Modified ( GM) crops and foods ?

    A. For this I have certain reservations. We should not take any step in hurry. More research and trials are needed to arrive at any conclusive decision. However, I personally believe that let us wait some more time for GM food but we can go ahead with non-food crops like cotton etc.
  • Q. What is your view on hybrid seeds?

    A. I am in favour of hybrid seeds to increase productivity. But we have seen in the state that many companies are distributing substandard seeds and that adversely affect farm production and productivity. I consider such activities as social and criminal offence and the government would not tolerate it. For hybrid seeds too, we need more research. If big companies come out with good quality hybrid seeds, the state would welcome them. Moreover, with our indigenous research, we want to produce such seeds which consume less water. Such seeds are urgently require for Bajra, Corn and Moong.That will be a great support because of our large tracks come under arid zone.
  • Q. Are you planning to rope in Agri University and colleges for Seeds?

    A. Certainly. Now all agriculture colleges, universities and research institutes will work in this direction. It is pity that with huge investment, they have only produced 25 per cent of local seeds. Now with integrated approach, where all these institutions work together, we want to enhance share of local seeds upto 50 per cent in short term.
  • Q. State government is also focusing on floriculture, aqua culture, date and olive farming. What are your new plans for these sectors?

    A. The business of flower is increasing and apart from religious use of flowers the use for decorative and ornamental purpose is also growing. Currently the state get its flowers from outside the state and as this is a lucrative business enjoying continuous demand flower cultivation and fish culture would be given the required thrusts. We have learnt a lot from the experience of Israel which has similar soil, climatic and other attributes during the previous BJP regime from 2003 to 2008. Several measures to encourage date and olive farming were undertaken, but the Congress government did not pursue the programme. Saini said the farmers in western Rajasthan and also farmers in and around Jaipur who grew dates and olive got very encouraging results. It would be our priority to encourage the farming by offering the farmers various incentives.
  • Q. You had very ambitious plans for olive farming earlier as well. How are you planning to take it forward?

    A. We just met with experts from Israel and with support from Israel, Rajasthan will be an olive state and it would start cultivation of olive in 700 hectares. The farmers will be encouraged to cultivate olive and the state government will give 75 percent of the cost for olive sowing and it would provide Rs 3000 per hectare to the farmers that grow olive and this would be given for three years. This amount would be given to meet the cost of feritilisers and pesticides and further incentives would be given additionally for growing olive in every 50 hectares. The state government’s endeavour to grow olive in olive farms at Nagaur districts’s Bakalia,Lunkaransar in Bikaner district,Baror in Ganganagar district and Baas Bisna in Jhunjhunu has been successful and the plants started yielding fruits in 2012 .These experimentation was done after scientific study in these areas. Moreover, we will set up an olive oil extraction plant at Lunkaransar at a cost of Rs four crore and the machinery and plants would be imported from Israel. In the beginning the olive would be grown in various state farms which would serve as the model farms where the farmers would be trained on olive cultivation.
  • Q. What are new initiatives of your Ministry ?

    A. We would set up Agriculture and Food products Export Dvelopment Authority (APEDA) and would set up agri export zones for Isaabgol (Psyllium husk),guar and would also develop post harvesting facility for Sriganganagar’s kinnows. Similarly Warehouse regulatory Authority will also be set up that would provide certified warehousing. Fodder plants will be set up on zonal basis and each such plant would cost Rs 45 crores. Thefood processing and cold chains would be given all the impetus and a separate department for promoting organic agriculture would be set up. We will also set up certification centers with state-of-the –art facilities for certifying organic agriculture commodities and products.
  • Q. The BJP had promised separate department for cattle in its manifesto. Have you made any progress in this regard?

    A. As part of the commitment made in the party’s election manifesto a separate department for cattle and cow conservation will be setup and special measures will be taken for the breed development of the cows for achieving higher milk productions and setting up of the gaushalas will be encouraged in all the districts. In the dairy sector emphasis will be laid on producing fodder and increasing the grazing area and easy loans facilities would be offered for sheep breeders an also for their insurance.
By
info@indiagri.in
Interviews

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27 Aug 2020

Mr Anil Ghanwat
President, Shetkari Sanghatana
 

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Name : Mr Anil Ghanwat

Designation : President, Shetkari Sanghatana

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Name : Dr Bindu R. Pillai

Designation : Acting Director and Head, Aquaculture Production and Environment Division, ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture

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Name : Dr O.P. Yadav

Designation : Director, ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur

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Name : Ravishankar C.N.

Designation : Director, Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (ICAR-CIFT)

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Name : Shubh Swain

Designation : Asst Director, Tata Cornell Institute, TARINA

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EDITOR'S NOTE

13 Jul 2020

Uniting India's farmers: FPOs will strengthen the rural economy

The proposed creation of ten thousand new Farmers’ Producer Organizations (FPOs) until 2023-24 by the government is a big step in the right direction. The empowerment of farmers in a country where 86 perce