Stressing on the need for industry-agriculture synergy, West Bengal Agriculture Minister Purnendu Basu said that with per capita land holding in the state at just 0.77 hectares, the need for its optimum use and diversification has grown manifold. “Industry and agriculture cannot stay in isolation. They must complement each other, especially at a time when thousands of farmers in the state are beset with various challenges, including lack of capital, knowledge of modern farming and access to market”, Basu said at the inauguration of CII-organised ‘Krishi Unnayan Mela-2015’ in Burdwan.
The state agriculture department is the partner in this mega event where some 8,000 farmers, 80 companies, including 10 global brands from countries such as Germany, England, Japan and Holland are participating. Basu also dwelt on the issue of distress sale by marginal farmers, saying “industry has a significant role to play in scripting a turnaround story in this state, where 96 per cent of the farmers are marginal”.
“Farm mechanisation is the only way to increase income of the farmers, But don’t expect them to come to you. You join hands with them”. Basu told the members of the industry, putting the onus on them to convince farmers for long term benefits with the help of modern technologies and marketing. He also spoke about the state’s target to set up one ‘Krishak Bazar’ in each of the 341 blocks in the state.
“Already, we have spent Rs 200 crore to build about 100 Krishak Bazar. By the end of the year, the number of Krishak Bazar is expected to touch 180”, the Minister said. Touching upon issues like post harvest management, fragmented land holding, lack of technology application and poor rural infrastructure, Basu further emphasised on the need for building linkages among suppliers (trader, machine manufacturer etc), retailers and processors to create a robust value chain.
Pradip Kumar Mazumdar, Agricultural Advisor to the Chief Minister, shared with the audience some of the state government s farmer friendly schemes and how they have been designed to transform their lives. Minister of State, Animal Resources and MSME, Swapan Debnath called upon CII to cooperate with small farmers and farm based entrepreneurs in selling their products in markets. Exhibitions and workshops on how to use modern farming will be held during the three day fair, the Minister said while stressing on the need for producing pulses and oilseeds in the state.
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