Asserting that the Himachal Pradesh government is working to protect the interests of farmers, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday said ‘we can’t think of development of the state without focusing on the agriculture sector’.
Addressing the 16th convocation ceremony of CSK Agriculture University Palampur in Kangra district, Thakur said 90 per cent of the population reside in rural areas in the state and they were directly or indirectly associated with agriculture or horticulture activities.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started an ambitious scheme to double farmers’ income by 2022. It is a tough task but we should make efforts to achieve it,” he added.
He stated that despite protests, the Centre government took decisions to formulate new laws for welfare of farmers and enacted the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme for small and marginal farmers of the country.
He laid stress on promoting natural farming in the state and called for shunning the rampant use of chemicals and pesticides in farming.
“The use of pesticides and chemicals has made the food unsafe and now, we don’t know whether the food we are eating is safe or contain poisonous substances,” the CM said.
He further stated that the state government was promoting natural farming in Himachal Pradesh and a budget provision of Rs 25 crore was made to popularize it among the farmers.
Now over a lakh farmers are associated with it and we will urge more and more farmers to adopt it, he stated.
The CM said earlier farmers were abandoning farming in various areas of the state due to loss to crops by wild animals but now the government had started a solar fencing scheme which had benefitted them greatly.
He lauded former CM Shanta Kumar for establishing the university in 1977 when he came to power in Himachal and said the institution had made us feel proud by the achievements it had amassed over the years.
He also appreciated the role of the farming community in Covid pandemic and said when all economic activities were stalled due to lockdowns, the agri sector contributed a lot to GDP and ensured that no one goes without food in the country.
“India was fortunate enough to have a leader like PM Modi as he encouraged all to face the pandemic bravely and showed what the country can do in terms of production of necessary medical items besides developing two vaccines.
At the start of the pandemic, there was a shortage of PPE kits, other medical supplies and vaccines to protect the people against viral disease.
Now the country exports PPE kits, other medical supplies and even the world’s largest vaccine campaign is being run in the country,” he added.