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New Delhi, Oct 15: The two-day ‘4th India Agricultural Outlook Forum 2020’ webinar started in Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi today. Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Parshottam Rupala in his special address appreciated the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture for organizing the ‘4th Indian Agricultural Outlook Forum 2020’ at this crucial time. 

He mentioned how the agriculture sector has emerged as the star performer in India’s pandemic-hit economy. He also congratulated every farmer, every stakeholder and the central and state Governments for their appreciable commitment to the agriculture sector which recorded a 3.4% growth during the first quarter of 2020-21. 

On the recent reforms and policy measures, he mentioned that the Government’s main objective is to strengthen all activities and services in agriculture, horticulture and allied sectors through creation and development of agriculture infrastructure, micro food enterprises, value chains and logistics for fishery and animal husbandry, medicinal and herbal plants, and bee keeping. 

He expressed confidence that the Forum’s deliberations would bring out more clarity on global developmental issues and the objective of transforming agriculture into farmers’ welfare and prosperity while maintaining quality of natural resources.

Lauding the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare during these challenging times, Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary (DAC&FW) briefed about the key agricultural reforms initiated during the last few months. He talked about the seriousness of the government for transforming farmers into entrepreneurs. 

Discussing the outlook for 2020, he maintained a great outlook for agriculture sector for the current agricultural year with record sowing level and focus on pulses and oilseeds. He also discussed the long standing legacy issues in agriculture and especially marketing aspect of agricultural produce, including agricultural infrastructure and food supply management, and their impact on the price realization by farmers. 

He mentioned about the eco-system that has been created for post-harvest management and other steps taken by the Ministry for promotion of Farmers Producer Organizations, availability of short-term credit to small and marginal farmers, promotion of direct marketing, contract farming, price assurance and risk mitigation of farmers. He also stressed on the required changes in the state legislation to give effect to these reforms. He expressed optimism that the forum’s deliberations would help in bringing out necessary policy inputs for future.

The main topics for discussion during the forum are: current national and international agricultural economic situation dictated by the pandemic and the way in which India and the world struggled to keep their economies going by minimizing the adverse impacts; game-changer farm sector initiatives; converging Indian agriculture with global commitments on sustainable and inclusive farm growth; decoding agri-tech potential; exploring new channels for rationalising cost structure of Govt. procurement agencies; and capacity building for employment opportunities.

The forum is being virtually attended by the officials from centre and state governments, national and international agriculture research institutes; Chief Economist USDA;  delegation from foreign embassies; International organisations like FAO, EU and OECD; scientists from ICAR, representatives from agro-Industries, business and farmers associations.

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