The Minister informed that horticulture crops, which contribute significantly to nutritional security, have witnessed record production this year at 307 million tonnes. Today, India occupies the top spot in horticulture production. In the year 2015-16, the production of pulses was 16.25 million tonnes, which increased to 25.23 million tonnes according to the fourth advance estimate in the year 2017-18, which is about 9 million tonnes higher compared to the production achieved in the year 2013-14. The role of high quality crop variety, seed and technology has been significant in increasing production, the Minister stated. He added that 795 crop varieties were released for production during 2014-18 as compared to 448 crop varieties during 2010-14. The demand and production of breeder seeds during 2013-14 was 8479 tonnes and 8927 tonnes respectively which rose to 10405 tonnes and 12265 tonnes in 2016-17.
On ‘Skill India’ the Minister said that the Scheme was launched by the Indian government on a large scale nationwide. According to statistics, a requirement of 22 lakh skilled youth is in the agricultural sector, for which training of skill development is being conducted in various employment areas with the help of the Agriculture Department ICAR and Krishi Vigyan Kendras. The Modi Government has encouraged entrepreneurs through skill development and start-ups.
To attract the youth of the country towards agriculture, a project called ‘Arya‘ is being run through Krishi Vigyan Kendras and the Farmer Fest program is also playing a leading role in this direction. Skill development internships for youth are provided at the graduation level. There is tremendous potential for startups in the fields of seed and plant production, food processing and post-mortgage management, veterinary, farm machinery, poultry, fish production, biological products and bioplasty.
Here, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas & Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan on the theme of the conclave “Unleashing Potentials in Agriculture for Young Entrepreneurs (UPAYA)” said that it has brought together entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers, scientists, farmers, technology developers to create desired awareness and help build a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, particularly in the Agriculture sector.
As the Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Pradhan assured full support in ensuring skilling in the agri entrepreneurship area. He expressed the hope that entrepreneurship in agriculture will reach every district of the country. The Minister said that our lifestyle is changing rapidly, and Technology, innovation are driving this change. Technology is also going to play a greater role in agriculture. Innovative products coming out of technological research in agriculture should reach the markets and should achieve scale to benefit the society. He said that strong linkage between agriculture and entrepreneurship will ensure this.
Pradhan addressing the conclave applauded the ICAR for giving a new dimension to the World Food Day2018 by organising this conclave on agri entrepreneurship. .He said that this has provided an opportunity to the entrepreneurs who have come up with innovative food products and solutions in the agriculture sector, to showcase their innovations and deliberate on this important area. He said that Agriculture in India is seeing fundamental shifts, and we have moved from a paradigm of food deficit to food surplus.