AMID WIDESPREAD protests against the three central farm laws in Punjab and Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Friday emphasised that farmers’ welfare and the growth of agriculture sector in the state are his government’s top priorities.
Adityanath was speaking at the inaugural session of India International Food and Agricultural Week.
Enlisting a slew of “pro-farmer measures” taken by the UP government, he said his government ensured that crop procurement went on without any disruption due to the coronavirus lockdown. The CM said while the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all sectors across the world, the “agriculture sector had lent speed to our economy”.
He also highlighted the potential of agriculture-based products of Uttar Pradesh in the international market, including “kala namak” rice, which has got geographical indication (GI) tag, mangoes and vegetables from eastern UP. He said there is great potential for export of “kala namak” rice from eastern Uttar Pradesh, especially in region surrounding Sidharthanagar, Gorakhpur, Deoria etc.
Pointing out that vegetables from eastern Uttar Pradesh region, surrounding Varanasi, were exported to Gulf countries, he said the state government was in the process of establishing two more pack houses for mangoes in Amroha and Varanasi, along with the ones in Lucknow and Saharanpur.
Emphasising that in Uttar Pradesh, the state with the largest population in the country, he said the economy depends on agriculture and the state plays a leading role in production of not just foodgrains but also sugar, vegetables and milk.
Adityanath said around 92 percent of farmers in the state belong to the small or marginalised farmers category and that the new policies of the Centre as well as formation of Farmers Produce Organisations would assist such farmers in getting better price for their produce.
Elaborating on the initiatives taken by the state government to promote agriculture sector in the state and increase the income of the farmers, he said that this year, the state government opened nearly 6,000 procurement centres for purchase of wheat and bought around 36 lakh metric tonnes (mt) of wheat from the farmers, apart from 39,000 mt of gram.
He also informed industrialists about the initiative of the state government to give the status of “mandi” to cold storage units with capacity of more than 4000 mt and food processing units that can process 10 tonnes daily. The CM also informed that the state government was taking the help of research institutions in this field.
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