Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath
Taking a pro-farmer stance, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath
on Monday said the scourge of farmers’ suicide in the country could be prevented to a large extent simply by boosting the food processing sector.
He said the farmers get distressed when they do not get adequate prices for their agricultural produce in the market and could lead to suicide too.
“After agriculture, food processing has the highest potential to create jobs and also prop up the self reliance of farmers,” Yogi said while addressing a road show here, which is a prelude to the World Food India 2017 event being organised by the union food processing industries ministry in consort with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi during 3 to 5 November, 2017.
However, he lamented that there was lack of awareness among farmers with regards to food processing and as such the full potential of the sector was unharnessed.
Yogi, who has recently completed two months in office, admitted the agricultural situation was far from satisfactory in UP even as he waxed eloquent on Prime Minister Narendra Modi for identifying the potential of food processing sector in doubling farm income by 2022.
Meanwhile, Yogi has urged the Centre to award at least four Mega Food Parks (MFP) projects to UP, one each for different regions viz. Purvanchal (Eastern UP), Bundelkhand, Western UP and Bundelkhand.
Yogi further underlined farmers’ prosperity would remain a distant dream unless traditional farming was supplemented with modern technology and that the state government had taken several initiatives to make farming more lucrative.
“The economic status of UP was much better about two decades back and it topped many of its peers in different socioeconomic indicators, such according to capita income. However, today UP lags other states as we could not improve the economic condition of our farmers, while other states did successfully,” he noted.
Union minister of state (food processing) Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and UP deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, who also holds the state food processing portfolio and UP industries minister Satish Mahana were also present on the occasion.
“After taking charge of my ministry, I tried to impress upon industrialists to invest in UP, but they always dragged their feet over perceptible bad business environment and law and order situation prevailing in the state. However, things are now changing for the better in the state under the Yogi rule,” said Union minister of state (food processing) Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.
The union food processing ministry has recently launched SAMPADA (Scheme For Agro-Marine Processing And Development Of Agro-Processing Clusters), which has allocated Rs 6,000 crore towards integrating current and new schemes aimed at reducing food wastage and doubling farmers’ income.
SAMPADA is estimated to benefit two million farmers and generate over 5,30,000 direct and indirect employment in India by 2019-20.
UP food processing space has vast scope for wealth creation, but has yet not been tapped due to sloppy policies over the past several years, although the state is the leading dairy and potato producer, apart from various other food grain and horticultural produce.