Zoom News : Sep 27, 2020, 01:14 PM
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India will become self reliant only when the farmers and villages are empowered. Addressing the nation in his Mann Ki Baat program on All India Radio, Mr Modi said the agricultural sector of the country, farmers and villages are the very basis of Atmanirbhar Bharat. He said even in this hour of crisis, agricultural sector has shown its resilience. He added that in the recent past, farmers have liberated themselves from many restrictions and tried to break free from many myths. Mr Modi said farmers have the power to sell their fruits and vegetables, anywhere and to anyone.He stressed that this power has now also been imparted to other farmers of the country. They now have the freedom to sell whatever they are cultivating, be it paddy, wheat, mustard, sugarcane, at any place where they can get a higher price.Mr Modi gave the example of Kanwar Chauhan from Sonipat district of Haryana. There was a time when Kanwar Chauhan used to face great difficulties in marketing his fruits and vegetables outside the mandi. If he tried to sell his fruits and vegetables outside the mandi, his produce and carts would get confiscated. In 2014, fruits and vegetables were excluded from the APMC Act, which greatly benefited him and fellow farmers in the neighborhood. Four years ago, he along with fellow farmers of his village formed a Farmer Producer’s Organization. Today, farmers in his village cultivate sweet corn and baby corn. Their produce is being supplied directly to Azadpur Mandi, Delhi, Big Retail Chains and Five Star Hotels. Mr Modi said these farmers are earning two and a half to three lakh rupees per acre annually by cultivating sweet corn and baby corn. Not only this, more than 60 farmers of this village, through construction of net house and poly house are producing various varieties of tomato, cucumber and capsicum and earning from 10 to 12 lakh rupees per acre every year.The Prime Minister said fruits and vegetables were excluded from the purview of APMC in Maharashtra about three or four years ago. He cited Sri Swami Samarth Farm Producer Company Limited as an example of how this reform changed the state of farmers growing fruits and vegetables in Maharashtra. He said farmers in Pune and Mumbai are themselves running weekly markets. In these markets, the produce of about four and a half thousand farmers of nearly 70 villages is sold directly without any middleman. Mr Modi said the rural youth are directly involved in the process of farming and selling to this market.He gave another example of Tamil Nadu Banana farmer produce company which is a farmers collective. This Farmer Collective purchased hundreds of metric tons of vegetables and fruits from nearby villages during the lockdown, and supplied a vegetable combo kit to the city of Chennai.