Emphasising the need to promote agro-based industries in rural areas so as to create employment opportunities for the rural youth and referring to reverse migration due to the pandemic last year, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said entrepreneurship in agriculture can immensely benefit the Indian economy by creating jobs in areas where they are needed the most.
The 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 chains, Naidu said while addressing the second annual convocation of Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa at its Piprakothi Campus in Bihar’s East Champaran district.
He, therefore, emphasised the need to promote FPOs through handholding and capacity building, appreciated the university for initiating training programmes in this regard and urged the universities to encourage farmers in their respective region to form collectives, a release from the Vice President’s Office said.
Calling for greater use of technology in food management to ensure food security for all, Naidu said: “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.”
Lauding the farmers for record food grain production despite the challenges thrown by Covid-19 pandemic, Naidu said: “Our country owes a lot to our hardworking farmers and frontline Corona warriors.”
Stressing that “agriculture is our basic culture,” he urged the Central and State governments, public leaders, universities and research institutions, and the media to give more importance to agriculture. “We must see that the agri-sector is given all the support that is needed for development and sustenance of agriculture,” he said.
Congratulating all the students who graduated, the Vice President asked them to strive to excel in their chosen domain and contribute towards the growth and development of the country.
On the occasion, he also praised local MP and former Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Radha Mohan Singh for his efforts in establishing several farmer-centric institutes at Piprakothi. “I am confident that all these institutes and centres will play a crucial role in alleviating the problems of small and marginal farmers of the region.”
Terming agriculture as one of the main pillars of the Indian economy, Naidu exhorted the young agri-professionals to work for the development of this crucial sector.
Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s historic Champaran Satyagraha movement in support of farmers, Naidu said that he felt privileged and honoured to stand on that pious soil.
Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were among those present on the occasion.