Pune/Mumbai, 2 September 2022
Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari said, “Farmers Producers Organisations (FPOs) are working excellently in Maharashtra and I feel proud about their achievement”.He was addressing a programme in Pune, organised by Agrowan, a publication of Sakal media group dedicated to agriculture. He further advised that, for rural development, it is necessary to convert knowledge into assets and to create wealth out of waste.
While elaborating his point, Shri Gadkari gave an example of construction of Bandra-Worli Sea Link in Mumbai for which, erstwhile debris was used to build a foundation of the project.
“If we want to eliminate poverty and unemployment in the country, it is imperative that the current rate of agricultural development of 12 percent should go up to at least 20 percent. Uncertainty in agriculture has increased as prices of agricultural products depend on global conditions. If wheat is being sold at Rs 6.50 per kg in countries like Australia, it is difficult to find a market for our wheat,” said Gadkari.
He further said that we are spending one and a half lakh crores of rupees every year to import edible oil. To reduce the dependency on imported oil, the agricultural sector now needs to turn to oilseeds production to increase the income and to be “Aatmanirbhar” in the oil sector, as the additional crops like rice, wheat, sugar are getting lower prices day by day.
“India is importing fuel worth sixteen lakh crores of rupees every year, if we can divert at least five lakh crore rupees to the agriculture sector, then it will not take long for our farmers to become Urjaadaata (energy donors) as well as Annadaata (food providers)”, said Shri Gadkari.
“While the country’s sugar requirement is 280 lakh tonnes, sugar production is over 360 lakh tonnes, which is much more than the requirement”, he remarked. Given the situation in Brazil, this surplus production can be utilized, added Shri Gadkari. However, as the demand for ethanol is very high, we have to focus on ethanol production rather than sugar, he also pointed out. “Last year India’s ethanol production capacity was 400 crore litres; we have taken many measures to increase the production of ethanol. Now is the time to plan to meet the demand for ethanol using technologies like power generators that run on bioethanol”, Shri Gadkari suggested.
Shri Gadkari informed the automobile industry that Government has decided to begin production of flex fuel engines in India. “Automakers Bajaj, Hero and TVS have already started manufacturing flex fuel engines, while many car manufacturers have also promised to make flex fuel engine powered car models”, he informed.
He further stated that Germany has developed the technology to run trains on bio-ethanol. Bio-CNG is much cheaper than CNG, he added. Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari also said, “If a tractor runs on Bio-CNG, one lakh rupees will be saved in a year”.
Observing that ” We are at least ten years behind in developing seeds compared to the rest of the world”, he stated that there is a need to increase income by reducing the cost of seeds, fertilizers and fuel for agricultural equipment.
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PIB Pune | JPS/SC/RA/DR