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Diversification and adoption of technology crucial for promoting vegetable farming: Horticulture Commissioner

Jul 13, 2020

NEW DELHI, 13 July 2020: Dr B N S Murthy, Horticulture Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Govt of India, today said that we need to go for diversification and adopt technology for vegetable farming to mitigate the issue of climate change. He added that the public and private sectors are partnering for the cause and are working diligently towards augmenting the agricultural produce and doubling farmers' income as envisioned by the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi.

Addressing the webinar 'Can Vegetable Farming Help Fight Climate Change? Strategies and Way Forward' organized by FICCI and East West Seed IndiaDr Murthy said that the government is working on various programmes to mitigate the challenges of climate change. Two programmes will be announced in the coming months that will enable vegetable farming. Processing clusters are also being developed and contract farming is being promoted by the government, he added.

Dr Naveen Kumar Patle, Deputy Commissioner Horticulture and Director, Central Institute of Horticulture, Nagaland, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said that the government is promoting farming of perennial vegetables and agroforestry. He added that the Rastriya Krishi Vikasa Yojana is demonstrating the benefit of integration of different agriculture practices for increased vegetable farming and reducing the gap between demand and supply of vegetables to achieve self-sufficiency.

Mr Dilip Rajan, Managing Director, East-West Seed India said that agriculture may be the sole bright spot in the overall gloomy economic outlook due to COVID-19. Vegetable farming offers better economic returns for smallholder farmers, enhances the health and nutrition of consumers while reviving our stalled economy. Vegetable farming can help fight climate change by reducing tillage, expanding crop rotations, cover crops, and re-integrating livestock into crop production systems.

Dr Ramakrishnan Madhavan Nair, Regional Director, World Vegetable Center, South and Central Asia said that the need is to promote climate-smart seed and climate-smart crop management practices and cropping seeds. Also, climate-smart post-harvest practices and circularity should be adopted. He added that going forward there is a need to diversify the crop portfolio, adopt good crop rotations, build soil organic matter, reduce the use of plastics, increase water-use efficiency and reduce post-harvest losses.

Speaking on the strategy for prosperity of vegetable farming, Dr Malavika Dadlani, President, Indian Society of Seed Technology said that there is a need for inclusive and liberal policy and partnerships need to be based on trust and transparency. She added that there is a need to promote 'India Abroad' and introduce indigenous vegetables with high nutritive, therapeutic and medicinal vales as COVID-19 has established their health benefits.  

Mr Ram Kaundinya, Head, Agriculture Committee FICCI Telangana State Council and Director-General, FSII said that climate change is real. Environmental temperatures are expected to rise and we need climate-resilient agriculture to fight climate change. We need crop varieties that will use natural resources more efficiently. He added that not only will the demand for vegetables rise due to improved living standards, but vegetables should also provide an opportunity for more environmentally friendly agriculture both in protected cultivation and open cultivation.

Ms Ananda UVL, Head Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, East-West Seed India and Mr R N Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, Free Press Journal also spoke on the occasion.

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