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Centre working to include millets in school feeding programs & public distribution system: Agri secy.

 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Centre to release contact farming act to state govts. by next month: Dr Ashok Dalwai
 
New Delhi, November 27, 2017: With a view to ensure that millets become a part of average Indian’s diet, the Government of India is trying to include it in school feeding programs, Union agriculture secretary Dr S.K. Patnaik said at an ASSOCHAM-Karnataka Government joint event held in New Delhi today.
 
“Even the NITI Aayog has suggested that millets should be a part of public distribution system (PDS),” said Dr Patnaik while addressing the ASSOCHAM-Karnataka Government joint initiative of New Delhi roadshow of ‘Organics & Millets 2018,’ an International Trade Fair to be held during January 19-21 in Bengaluru.
 
“The Government of India is thinking to coin a new term called ‘nutricereals’ for millets, perhaps that will have a much better meaning and carry the message to every citizen of this country,” he added.
 
Dr Patnaik also informed that Department of Agriculture is trying to resolve various issues related to millets as the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) is working on producing high yielding varieties and enhancing the shelf-life.
 
Besides, the Government of India is also willing to give specific assistance to those willing to grow millets under the National Food Security Mission of the Department of Agriculture.
 
He also said that In future, India’s strategy has to shift from individual farmers to that of farmer producer organisations (FPOs) because they can aggregate it, cater to the market and link it with that.
 
Earlier, addressing the ASSOCHAM-Karnataka Government joint roadshow, Dr Ashok Dalwai, chief executive officer (CEO), National Rainfed Area Authority (NRAA) said that the Government of India along with state governments is trying to create demand for millets and organic products.
 
“There is a scope for entrepreneurs, industrial houses to invest in machinery for primary and secondary processing of millets,” said Dr Dalwai.
 
“We have already been in touch with lot of food-chain industries to promote National Agri Value-chain platform, we want every farmer becomes an integral member of the value chain,” he added.
 
He also said that it will help the farmers become an integral part of an elongated value chain and supply chain linking right up to the global markets.
 
“To facilitate all these things we are also now drafting the Contact Farming Act, in hope that by next month we would be able to release that to the state governments where the industrial houses are able to take advantage of the provisions of the Contact Farming Act and then promote the farmers in to producing what is marketable, give them extension advice, input deficiency management benefits and simultaneously assure pre-seasonal agreed market prices,” said Dr Dalwai.
 
He also informed that Union Government was also pursuing the state governments to have a new market structure as the APMCs (Agriculture Produce Market Committees) have become monopolies by themselves.
 
“It is now time that we break the monopoly even if they are government organisations and create alternate marketing systems, so we would like the private sector to come and set up private markets and they will be given level playing field under the new provisions,” added the CEO of NRAA.
 
“We hope that with a reformed market environment supplemented by the new marketing act, contact farming act, new land lease act and of course the value-chain platform we should be able to build a new price discovery environment, a competitive, healthy market, transparent environment for farmers,” further said Dr Dalwai.
 

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ASSOCHAM initiated its endeavour of value creation for Indian industry in 1920. It was established by promoter Chambers, representing all regions of India. Having in its fold over 400 Chambers and Trade Associations, and serving over 4.5 lakh members across India. ASSOCHAM has emerged as the fountainhead of Knowledge for Indian industry, which is all set to redefine the dynamics of growth and development in the Knowledge Based Economy. More information available on www.assocham.org
 
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