Ashok Gehlot Listens To Farmers In Virtual Mode
Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot was in live interaction with farmers from all 33 districts of the state to review the implementation of the Agro-Processing, Agri-Business, and Agri Export Promotion Policy 2019. The policy has been attracting new investments in Agri industries and developing infrastructure despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. During the meeting, it was informed that more than five dozen applications have been received in the unlock period and the numbers are set to rise with an increase in awareness towards the scheme.
The new policy focuses on a vision to ensure that every ounce of agricultural produce in the state is processed locally. The processing infrastructure while would add value to the agro produce, it would also reduce wastage and thus will help increase income for farmers and cash flow for the state. Through the review meeting on Wednesday, the chief minister inquired upon the farmers regarding their experience with the policy and asked them to make others aware of the policy benefits.
During the interaction, many of the farmers turned entrepreneurs informed that they have already established a unit under the scheme applied for sanction under the second scheme. The chief minister took notice of the various suggestions received in the process, he was delighted to learn that a Jodhpur based firm has indigenously done research on extracting protein from Gwar and asked them to secure a patent of the technology. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that the new policy is a revolutionary step in direction of increasing farmer income and while the progressive farmers are already drawing its benefit they should also come forward to educate others about it.
“It is a beginning and there could be discussions on length over the policy. The district administration should help to spread awareness and get the policy discussed at Gram Panchayat and Tehsil level,” said the Chief Minister.
In consideration of COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting on Wednesday was held in a virtual mode with more than 400 farmers connecting from the ‘Jan Sampark Kendras’ of their respective districts. The chief minister in his concluding comments while thanked the farmers for being part of the virtual event, he asked them to stay cautious and keep themselves and others safe. He assured of the best efforts being made by the government to deal with the pandemic and that Rajasthan is ahead of other states in recovery rates and testing, yet he requested the public to support the government efforts to keep away COVID and take special care of the elderly, kids and immunity compromised.
At the meeting, Agriculture Minister of Rajasthan Lalchand Katariya appreciated the fact that the policy has provided farmer families ways and means to generate employment for themselves and others despite the COVID crisis. He insisted the officials ensure that the benefits of the scheme reach out to the beneficiaries. He asked the officials to not only educate farmers regarding the policy benefits but also guide them regarding the loan process.
Adding to the discussion, Chief Secretary to Government of Rajasthan, Rajeeva Swarup suggested a ‘mentor system’ to be developed at the district level with the cooperation of progressive farmers that can help other farmers understand complications related to the export of farm produce.
Earlier at the meeting, Principal Secretary of Agriculture. Kunji Lal Meena while highlighting various incentives provision under the scheme and stated that the scheme is ahead of the policy of the central government and other state governments in offering incentives to farmers.