CHIEF MINISTER Vijay Rupani on Friday appealed to farmers to upscale their production and “earn dollars” by exporting the produce.
Addressing farmers of Rajkot and Morbi districts during “Krushimahotsav” at the agriculture produce market committee here, the CM said the state government has already started purchasing groundnut and toor at minimum support price. “In order to prevent the loot of groundnut at low prices, the government started purchasing it at MSP from Diwali onward. And we’ve purchased it in abundance. Then, we started purchasing toor at MSP. Our initial target was 50,000 metric tonnes (MT). But. it was doubled to one lakh MT later on and the revised target stands at 1.75 lakh MT to help farmers,” said Rupani.
Saurashtra region accounts for majority of cotton and groundnut production in Gujarat. The CM said the government was also trying to reduce pendency of applications seeking power connections. “I’m aware that the waiting list is very long in PGVCL. Farmers are demanding immediate power connections. Therefore, the government has decided to release 1.25 lakh connections for farmers of Saurashtra this year and clear pendency of of applications received till end of 2013,” said the CM.
Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL), a state government-owned company distributes electricity in Saurashtra and Kutch regions of Gujarat and around more than 1.5 lakh applications of farmers for agricultural power connections are pending.
The CM said the state government was committed to provide power and water to farmers to boost their yield. He said that Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation Yojna (SAUNI), the ambitious project of the government to divert floodwater of Narmada to 115 reservoirs of Saurashtra through a 1,125-km network of giant pipelines, will prove a game-changer for the region.
“Farmers of Saurashtra have the capacity to satiate the hunger of the world if they get water and electricity. Weather there is drought or not, dams of Saurashtra will overflow with Narmada water through the SAUNI project. The government has planned to complete this project in the coming one-and-a-half year to ensure that farmers of Saurashtra prosper. The work on the project is going on a war-footing.
Work worth Rs 5, 500 crore has been completed. Tenders for additional work were finalised last week. We will complete this project to ensure drought in Saurashtra becomes a thing of the past,” said the CM.
Rupani added that while the government was helping farmers by purchasing their produce at MSP and building capacity for storage, farmers should think big and think about exporting their commodities.
“When the SAUNI project is completed, farmers will upscale production of cotton, groundnut, pulses, vegetable, dates and other crop and export them. This was the dream of Narendra Modi. This will make villages prosperous and prosperous villages will help cities prosper,” he said.
Krushimahotsav is the annual drive of the Gujarat government to promote latest technologies and best farming practices in the state. During the drive, agricultural scientists and agricultural officers interact with farmers in the summer before the arrival of monsoon. The initiative was launched by Narendra Modi in 2005 when he was chief minister of Gujarat.