Telangana redefining farming with vision: Minister Niranjan
Optimal utilisation of water, quality farm produce to benefit people and making agriculture profitable is the main objective says State Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy
Hyderabad: Optimal utilisation of water, quality farm produce to benefit people and making agriculture profitable is the main objective says State Agriculture Minister S Niranjan Reddy, in a freewheeling interview with The Hans India.
1. How agriculture sector in the State now is different from United Andhra Pradesh?
A. Agriculture was the most neglected subject in the combined State. Now, it is the most favoured sector. It is government's priority area. Further, the very face of Telangana is now seen as pro-farmer and pro-agriculture State in the country.
2. Do you think providing financial assistance to farmers alone is going to make farming profitable?
A. No. The government under the leadership of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao is moving with a complete understanding of the agriculture sector. Successive governments in United AP have neglected agriculture and adopted discriminatory practices. Now, the Telangana farmers know the quantum of water and power need to grow a particular crop and lands suitable to a crop. They are more confident and self-driven than ever before.
3. How about the Rythu Bandhu and shortcomings in market linkages?
A. Telangana is the first State to introduce several innovative schemes in agriculture like Rythu Bandhu. So far, 94 per cent of Rythu Bandhu assistance for the Kharif has been distributed. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao will be announcing the same for Rabi.
Coming to market linkages, the State has three major crops Viz cotton, paddy and maize. Lack of marketing farm produce is a partial truth. The scale and quantity of cotton grown in the State is huge. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) procurement centres buy the cotton. Sometimes, due to lack of awareness, farmers bring cotton with more moisture content to the centres. Farmers get lesser than Minimum Support Price (MSP) when the cotton fails to meet a certain level of moisture standards.
4. These days the younger generation is showing interest in the horticulture sector. How are your initiatives going in this sector?
A. The area under horticulture is increasing day-by-day in Telangana. This includes cultivating vegetables' and fruits. There is a need to increase micro-irrigation support, subsidy, pandal cultivation, mulching, providing mulching sheets, sprinklers and shadow nets. We are going to address it in the next budget to give the much-needed boost to horticulture.
5. Your government is giving importance to the seeds sector. Are they any plans to procure, protect and store the seeds native to Telangana?
A. True. Earlier, Telangana farmers owned their own seeds and preserved them. However, there are lots of changes in the seed sciences. The seed used 50 years ago may not get the quantum of yield to the current demands. A seed used for more than two to three germinations loses its stability, quality and yield. We have now different varieties, hybrids, scientifically proven better quality and higher productivity. The good part is that seeds grown in Telangana germinate in any agro-climatic conditions across the world. The laboratories do have collection of the native seeds. But, as policy, they are not distributed to the farmers.
6. How is farm mechanisation programme going in the agriculture sector?
A. Telangana is first in farm mechanisation in the country. The chief minister is very passionate about this aspect of agriculture. Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) and Sri Konda Laxman Telangana State Horticultural University (SKLTSHU) are supporting agriculture sector.
7. Can you share how the government is looking at agriculture and allied fields to boost the rural economy in the State?
A. Now farmers are confident with high morale and agriculture is a dependable profession in Telangana. Our chief minister's vision is farmers should be totally equipped to meet the contemporary needs and demands of society. Based on this, we are assessing the demand for vegetables', fruits, groceries and others in the State. To bring value addition to agriculture products to fetch more income to farmers, very soon, we are coming up with a policy on setting up Agriculture Food Processing units. State has the potential to export finished products like turmeric, Deccan meat, ground nut products and others to the national and international markets.