Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign 2023-24 on May 3, 2023, at NASC Complex, New Delhi. Addressing Conference, he emphasized that agriculture remains prime pulse of the Indian economy and is at the core of the socio-economic development of the country. It accounts for around 19% of the GDP and about two-thirds of the population is dependent on the sector.
Tomar expressed happiness that India’s agriculture sector has been witnessing robust growth with an average annual growth rate of 4.6 per cent over the last six years. This has enabled agriculture and allied activities sector to contribute significantly towards country overall growth, development and food security. As per 2nd Advance Estimates (2022-23), production of foodgrains in the country is estimated at 3235 lakh tonnes which is higher by 79 lakh tonnes than the production of foodgrains during 2021-22.
Record production is estimated of rice, maize, gram, pulses, rapeseed and mustard, oilseeds and sugarcane. Total production of sugarcane in the country during 2022-23 is estimated at record 4688 lakh tonnes which is higher by 1553 lakh tonnes than the average sugarcane production. As per the 3rd Advance Estimates of Horticulture, a record 3423.3 lakh tonnes of horticultural production are estimated in 2021-22 which is 77.30 lakh tonnes higher over production of 2020-21.
The objective of this conference was to review and assess the crop performance during the preceding crop seasons and fix crop-wise targets for Kharif season in consultation with State Governments, ensure supply of critical inputs and facilitate adoption of innovative technologies with a view to enhance production and productivity of the crops.
The priority Government is agro-ecological based crop planning for diversion of land from excess commodities like rice and wheat to deficit commodities like oilseeds and pulses and high value export earning crops. Special Mustard programme was initiated during Rabi 2020-21 that has brought most spectacular results. Mustard production has jumped by 40% from 91.24 to 128.18 lakh tonnes in last 3 years. The productivity saw 11% increase from 1331 to 1447 kg/ha. The area under rapeseed & mustard enhanced by 29% from 68.56 lakh ha in 2019-20 to 88.58 lakh ha in 2022-23. Timely action by central and state government made this remarkable achievement possible.
The Minister shared that India organized The Global Millets (Shree Anna) Conference at IARI campus, PUSA, New Delhi on March 18, 2023, as part of major celebration of International Year of Millets. Dedicating to the International Year of Millets (IYM) 2023, Prime Minister unveiled commemorative coin and stamp celebrating IYM followed by digital launch of a book of millets (Shree Anna) standards. The Prime Minister declared ICAR-IIMR as Global Centre of Excellence which was followed by screening of a short film on Shree Anna & IYM 2023. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare is ensuring that IYM is celebrated in a structured way throughout the year by organising regular meetings (In person/ video conferencing) with all the stakeholders. Expert Institutes such as ICAR-IIMR, APEDA, ICRISAT and others are also involved to encourage R&D, productivity and value addition.