In a bid to make the state self sufficient in all aspects of the agriculture sector, the department’s minister Purnendu Basu welcomed the investment of private sector for infrastructure development.
Basu was speaking at a session on “Agriculture: New Opportunities and Perspectives” organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. Sanjeev Chopra, additional Chief Secretary of Agriculture department and Pradip Kumar Majumdar, advisor, Agriculture and Allied Sectors to the
Chief Minister, were also present in the programme.
Basu said that agriculture is the biggest industry. Thus, the state has to be self sufficient so that it doesn’t need to depend on any other states for a better quality yield.
“But it is not possible by the state government on its own. Thus, we are inviting businessmen to invest to develop cold storages, cold chains, seed industry and factories to manufacture machineries essential for farming,” he said adding that there are no industries to manufacture machineries of the kind which were being used by farmers in West Bengal.
Moreover, the state is number one in production of vegetables. Thus, storage capacity also needs to go up and it could be developed easily with private investment to set up cold chains.
At present there are 145 automated weather stations (AWS) in the state. There are scopes to set up more and it could be undertaken in Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
“Farmers who yield jute are mainly dependable on Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Why cannot we develop seeds for jute in West Bengal itself?” he raised the question. “I would request you all to start investing in the areas without losing any time,” said Basu.
The minister also stressed on the need for more Farmers Producers Organisation (FPOs) as it will help in better marketing of crops. At present FPOs directly sell their yields in the shops owned by the state government – Sufal Bangla. Majumdar said that the state government’s target is to support farmers by helping them grow something that would give them better realisation.
“Timely distribution of seeds has been ensured. Farmers now get seeds 3 weeks before the initial date of sowing,” he said adding that in the past five years it has become possible to improve the household income by 75 per cent that is from Rs 69,000 to Rs 1.69 lakh per year per family. The steps were taken to check unplanned yield of crops.
Chopra said, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalaya is the number one agriculture university and it stood 31st among all universities in the country. Though the Kishan Credit Card coverage has gone up, steps are needed to help farmers get the facility in a better way by setting up infrastructure, he mentioned.