Youth turning to agriculture, a good sign: Deshmukh

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Nagpur, Oct 6 (UNI) Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh today said it was a good sign that youth were turning to agriculture as a profession because of remunerative prices for farm products in the market.

Speaking at a function to distribute the state-level awards for excellence in agriculture here, Mr Deshmukh said the farm products were now commanding better prices in the market than ever before.

''Soybean is getting a high price. Cotton is getting a price of up to Rs 3,000. Because of this, the younger generation is now not reluctant to take up agriculture as a full-time profession. This will give agriculture a boost,'' he said.

Agriculture must become affordable, and for this farmers must explore alternative sources of income. Cultivators must try out newer methods of farming and grow two crops a year to boost income, Mr Deshmukh said.

''The high price that cotton is commanding has automatically fulfilled our promise, made in the election manifesto for 2004, that our government would pay a price of Rs 2,700 for the produce,'' he quipped.

The Chief Minister stressed the need for finding a good market abroad for agricultural products, especially through exports.

''Mango from the Konkan region of Maharashtra is being exported, and is fetching a good price for the growers,'' he pointed out.

Mr Deshmukh said the winners of various awards, given for 2006 and 2007 today, had demonstrated that if there is a will, there is a way.

The awardees showed that difficulties and problems could be surmounted with hard work and dedication, he added.

Addressing the gathering, Governor S C Jamir said the awardees had proven that farming is a viable and rewarding venture.

The awardees should form a group to disseminate their knowledge so that agriculture in the entire state benefited from their experience and knowledge, and got a boost, he said.

Later, Mr Jamir gave away various awards. Among those present were Maharashtra Minister for Agriculture Balasaheb Thorat and Minister of State for Agriculture Rana Jagjit Singh Patil among others.

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