Nashik, Jun 29 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said efforts were on to extend the loan waiver scheme to farmers having more than five acres of arable (dependent on rain) land and to regular loan payers in next financial year.
''The total amount of loan payment by farmers was of Rs 3,26,000 crore. So we decided to provide Rs 71,000 crore loan waiver to farmers with arrears in the first phase. Now, efforts will be made to provide loan waiver relief to those with more than five acres of arable land and those who pay their loan amounts regularly. This will happen in the second phase, that is in the next financial year,'' Mr Pawar said, while addressing a ceremony organised on the occasion of inauguration of the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) Bhavan at Chitegaon Phata in Niphad taluka of the district.
''This year, the food production is of 227 lakh tonnes. Of this, the production of wheat is 78 million tonnes, which is the highest food production after Independence. Even production of cottonseeds, soyabean and sunflower is also the highest in last 50 years. The government has sufficient stocks of wheat, which will last for next one-and-a-half year. Even we have adequate stocks of sugar, which will be sufficient for next two years. All this happened because we gave good prices to farmers (Rs 1,000 per quintal for wheat),'' the Minister said, adding, given that they were good prices for their produce and an opportunity to live with self-respect and pride, farmers would not ask for any loan waiver.
He appealed farmers to increase more agriculture production, including vegetables, food grains and dairy products, to conquer the global market, and also urged them to make experiments in horticulture and other areas.
He also stressed on the need to give encouragement to new generation of farmers, besides addressing water woes.
Mr Pawar inaugurated a national seminar on ''Vegetable production, post-harvest management and export''. District Guardian Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, MP Devidas Pingle, NHRDF president C B Holkar, Dr M L Chandhary, Horticulture Commissioner, New Delhi and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Farmers from the region attended the programme in large numbers.
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