“Tomar will discuss promoting water conservation and crop diversification while aligning cropping system to agro-climatic conditions at the district level for optimum use of resources,” said a senior agriculture ministry official.
He said that the agenda also includes deliberations on promoting food processing and agro-based industry and exports.
“The government has launched many agro-based funds including the Rs 1 lakh crore agri infrastructure fund. The minister will discuss plans on how to encourage states to utilise these funds. For growth, a focused intervention is needed to develop robust agri infrastructure including an electronic marketplace and value chain,” the official said.
The government has divided the farm ecosystem into seven agro-climatic zones for assessing the cropping pattern to address the issue of climate change. It will help to move towards precision agriculture with optimum water and nutrient use through drip irrigation, fertigation, conservation agriculture and mechanisation.
“Climate changes are happening across the globe. We need to realign our crop planning as per the changes in climate and monsoon pattern. This will increase our productivity and help select the right crop to plant,” the official said.
He said that the government has sharpened its focus on crop diversification to ensure better realisation for farmers and encourage them to grow high-value horticulture crops. Planting of food grains like wheat and rice, which are in surplus, will only suppress prices.
“We have launched programmes to divert farmers from planting water-guzzling rice to pulses and nutri-cereals in Haryana and Punjab. Areas under rice have been reduced a bit but we need a more focused approach and incentivisation to promote crop diversification,” he said.
The official said that agriculture minister Tomar will also share plans to promote agri exports, which can help double the farmers’ income.