Sufficient funds available for development of agriculture in North East: Pawar

Guwahati, Oct 1 (ANI): Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Friday said there are sufficient funds available for the development of agriculture in the north east region of the country, and emphasised on the need to absorb these funds, and more importantly, leverage them for multiplier effects to address the challenge.

"There is sufficient funding available under different schemes.

However the ability to absorb these funds, and more importantly, leverage them for multiplier effects is the challenge that we all need to address," said Pawar, while speaking at a conference on 'Agriculture in North East: Strategies, Policies and Practices' here today

"I am aware that the reach of credit co-ops, rural banks and agricultural insurance is not very extensive in this region- and we have to work together to look at innovative products and processes, but there are still many things that can be achieved if we work together," he added.

Pawar said the Agriculture Ministry has been quite successful in achieving high production levels in most crops, in spite of the vagaries of nature.

"We now need to look at each of the regions to understand how farming systems and farmers incomes can keep pace with the growing expectations of farmers. We are also in the process of formulating our strategy for the next Five Year Plan, and therefore this interaction is extremely relevant and meaningful," said Pawar.

"A few months ago, I had a meeting with the CMs and Ministers of the eastern region to discuss the strategy for the Second Green Revolution in the eastern region. These interactions help all of us to develop a clear vision and agenda for action. We have also requested the DONER (Department of North East Region) and the Rural Development Department to be our partners in this process because all of us have to work together to ensure that there is convergence of ideas, funds and expected outcomes," he added.

Pawar further said it is important for all of us to underline the unique features of the North east.

"The North Eastern region comprises eight states: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. With nearly eight percent of the total geographical area of the country and a population of thirty one million the region is now gearing up to meet the challenges of food and nutrition security, especially as economies get linked to markets," said Pawar.

"Even within the North East, there can be no single strategy as the crops, soils, food habits, cultural practices and economic systems are extremely diverse. Nearly two thirds of the region is under hill terrain, and of the 4.4 million hectare net sown area more than one tenth is under shifting cultivation. The Ministry has a special programme for these areas," he added. (ANI)

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