Govt ushers in sea change in agri, aqua culture in state
Kolkata: Bengal government has brought about significant improvement in sectors like agriculture and aqua culture in the state. For the first time, the concept of aqua retailing has also been introduced in the state.
Subrata Mondal, chief general manager of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) said one of the biggest problems the government has been facing is the fragmented land. The density of population in the state also affects the agricultural sector. Despite the challenges, the Bengal government has gone through significant improvement in the sector.
NABARD extends financial assistance to the state government for its various rural projects. It has 31 regional offices and 2,000 consultancy centres for the better implementation of rural projects. It also provides funds for construction of rural roads and bridges in the state. NABARD plays a strong role in the rural and farming economy of the state.
There are approximately more than 71 lakh families under the agriculture sector in the state. Bengal records the highest amount of paddy production and comes second highest in potato production. Emphasis is being laid on the development of sustainable aqua culture in order to prevent death
of fishes. "The population density and fragmented land are the major challenges for the state. Hence, we are advising banks for group mode finance for Bengal. It is the only state which has 100 percent financial support from NABARD in the cooperative sector. Agriculture can move forward by merging production and marketing together. To combat various issues related to climate change, four different funds have been generated in the country by NABARD out of which two projects are operational in Bengal," Mondal said.
What is most important here is that the average annual income of farmers in the state has gone up threefold in 2017-18 financial year than what it was seven years ago. According to Agriculture department sources, the average annual income of a farmer now stands at Rs 2,91,000 in 2017-18 financial year, while it stood at Rs 2,39,123 in 2016-17. During 2010-11, the average annual income of a farmer remained Rs 91,000. This has become possible due to various social schemes introduced by the Mamata Banerjee government to improve the socio-economic conditions of the farmers across the state.
While the Centre aims at doubling the farmers' income by 2022, the Bengal government has already increased the income level of farmers three times in the state. The present government has started distributing certified seeds to the farmers at 50 percent subsidised rates and also giving a platform to sell off their produce directly at various state government-managed outlets. No wonder that the food production in the state has gone up by a huge margin.