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Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said there is a need to conserve water, incentivise agro-processing and promoting balanced use of fertilizers in order to ensure higher agriculture productivity, which would, in turn, increase income of farmers.
He added that in order to achieve the goal of doubling the farmers' income by 2022, there was need for better storage and marketing facilities for the farmers' produce so that they get better prices.
Jaitley's remarks came at his first pre-Budget consultative meeting with the representatives of different agriculture groups here.
During the meeting, many suggestions were received including incentivising mechanised farming and micro-irrigation, subsidising machines for crop residue management and tackling the stubble burning problem especially in northwest India.
There were also suggestions to give more focus on dairy, fruit and vegetable items "which have potential to grow three-four times and thereby can help in achieving the goal of doubling of the farmers' income by 2022", a statement from the Finance Ministry said.
The representatives also suggested focusing on vegetables especially TOP -- tomato, onion and potato -- as there is maximum volatility in their prices.
Another suggestion included to give more thrust to warehouses, cold storages at the local level and give boost to agro-processing facilities in order to optimally manage the increased production of agriculture produce, especially of perishable items.
It was also suggested to have an Integrated Transport System so that farmers can take their produce to the far-off market places where they can get better prices for their produce and in turn, help in containing their prices.
The representatives of the different agriculture groups also suggested a shift to "Farmers' Policy" instead of the "Food Policy", which is being pursued since decades.
"Other suggestions included to create a small group of five-six experts who can monitor the agriculture production data of different crops and global market conditions on monthly basis and do advance planning, rather than the government reacting suddenly to an adverse situation," the statement said.
"To ensure the delivery of remunerative prices to farmers, the Price Deficiency Payment Mechanism must be implemented immediately for those crops where procurement cannot be ensured.
"Other suggestions included that the Centre should declare an 'Agriculture Debt Relief Package' for the entire country which is used with matching contributions from the state governments," it added.
It was also suggested that on the lines of other subsidies, food and fertilizers subsidy should also be given through Direct Benefit Transfer mechanism to avoid pilferage.
The stakeholders suggested that 'one shoe fits all' policy may not be suitable and differentiated and flexible policies for different agro ecologies -- based on available land and water resources, population and dependency on agriculture -- should be promoted to accelerate growth of the agriculture sector.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)