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Saturday, October 24th, 2020

CPA meet on agriculture supports food and input subsidies to tackle rural poverty

Commonwealth Parliamentary AssociationINVC, Chandigarh, The agriculture meet of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association today supported continuance of subsidies on food and agricultural inputs besides employment guarantee programmes to tackle the challenge of increasing rural poverty of the world. The third session of second day of three-day international meet, the agricultural economists collectively gave a call to tackle rural poverty by aggressively promoting employment generating schemes besides tackling the problems of small farmers. In his presentation Mr P S Birthal from National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research, New Delhi, said that poverty has been identified as biggest problem in Asia with East Asia having 54.3% rural poor, South Asia with maximum 80.7% rural poor and South East Asia 74.5% rural poor. He said that small size farm holdings were bane of poverty with 84% of farmers of India having a farm holding less than 1.3 hectares. Giving a call for making collective efforts to safeguard the interest of farmers of small landholdings, he said that small holders were custodians of food security as 69% of milk supply, 32% of pulse production, 38% of oilseed production, 49% of spices production, 52% of wheat production, 54% of coarse grain production, 55% of fruit production, 62% of paddy production and 70% of vegetable production comes from farmers having small landholding. Expressing concern over problems being faced by small farmers who are finding it difficult to cope with globalisation, high and volatile prices, competitiveness, the international economist said that agriculture growth was the only weapon that can bring them out of web of poverty. Supporting market diversification and strengthening of infrastructure to tackle the problem of rural poverty Mr Birthal said that strengthening roads, communication, storage, processing and ensuring institutional credit and insurance cover to all and reducing marketing costs, transaction risks could improve the status of small farmers. Advocating diverse models for linking farmers to markets in India, Mr Birthal said that direct marketing models like "Apni Mandi", co-operative model like NDDB, producers association model, contract farming model, could be adopted keeping in view area specific requirements. Emphasising on improving market access and insurance against risk, Mr P S Birthal gave a call for building value change to help small farmers.

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