Governor address at the inauguration of the Workshop on ‘Prospects of Agriculture in Marathwada’ at Aurangabad

    Publish Date: August 10, 2016

    Address by Shri CH Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the inauguration of the Workshop on ‘Prospects of Agriculture in Marathwada’ organized at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad at 1000 hrs on Wednesday 10 August 2016

    Shri Haribhau Bagde, Hon’ble Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Shri Arjun Khotkar, Minister of State for Textiles, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Fisheries, Shri Shriram Mahajan, President, Zilla Parishad, Aurangabad, Shri Umakant Dangat, Divisional Commissioner, Aurangabad, Shri Vikas Deshmukh, Commissioner, Agriculture, Pune, Shri B A Chopde, Vice Chancellor, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Shri B Venkateshwarulu, Vice Chancellor, Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agricultural University, Smt Nidhi Pandey, Collector, Aurangabad, Shri Gurpreet Singh Bagga, President, Marathwada Chamber of Industries and Agriculture, Shri Mansingh Pawar, Representative, Maharashtra Chamber, invitees, officials, ladies and gentlemen,

    सर्व प्रथम आजचे हे चर्चासत्र आयोजित केल्याबद्दल मी मराठवाडा विकास मंडळ, विभागीय आयुक्त, डॉ. बाबासाहेब आंबेडकर मराठवाडा विद्यापीठ, वसंतराव नाईक कृषी विद्यापीठ, मराठवाडा चेंबर ऑफ कॉमर्स अँड अॅग्रिकल्चर तसेच सर्व संबंधितांचे मनःपूर्वक अभिनंदन करतो.

    आज येथे खास उपस्थित असलेल्या सर्व शेतकरी बंधू – भगिनींचे स्वागत करताना मला विशेष आनंद होत आहे.

    यंदा पाऊस – पाणी चांगले झाले आहे. धरणे भरत आहेत. पावसाळा आणखी बाकी आहे. जमिनीखालील पाण्याचा स्तर वाढत आहे. त्यामुळे मी, आपल्या सर्वांच्या-वतीने वरुण राजाचे आभार मानतो.

    पिछ्ले कुछ सालमे मराठवाडाने गंभीर जलसंकट देखा. आप सब लोगोने हिम्मत के साथ जलसंकट का सामना किया. किसानोंका का भारी नुकसान हुवा, व्यापारीयौंका नुकसान हुवा. लेकिन अब यह संकट समाप्त हुवा है.

    Even though, the worst is behind us, We must not forget the hard lessons the drought has taught all of us.

    The first lesson all of us must learn is that global climate change is here to stay. Perhaps, the impact of the climatic change will be varying from year to year. Some year the impact would be less, at times it would be harsh.

    The first and foremost thing, we must do now, is to prepare ourselves for climatic changes. Marathwada is predominantly agrarian with 87 per cent of area under dryland agriculture.

    According to the Central Research Institute for Dryland Farming, the districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha are at a very high risk of the climate change. It is imperative that we adopt our agricultural systems taking into consideration the climatic changes. It is also imperative that the issue of climate change gets reflected in our policy-making and annual budget.

    The second lesson all of us must learn is the centrality of water management. Water management must become central to our agriculture planning and even urban planning.

    In this context the Jalyukta Shivar Abhiyan undertaken by Government of Maharashtra with participation of people has proved successful in recharging the groundwater level of the region. I am proud to mention that the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi ji had made a special mention of the Jalayukt Shivar Yojana in his Mann Ki Baat.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    ‘More crop per drop’ has been the motto given by our Prime Minister. Water management coupled with adoption of improved technologies like drip and sprinkler irrigation systems must be encouraged for improving the water use efficiency and getting more crop yield.

    Today technologies are also available to recharge groundwater through diverting excess water from the field directly into the percolation tank, nala bund, open wells and bore wells. In this context, massive water-literacy and awareness programme on water harvesting across villages needs to be taken up by the Agricultural Universities and the Department of Agriculture jointly.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    The nation is celebrating the 125th birth anniversary of the Architect of the Indian Constitution Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Dr Ambedkar had made an in-depth study of Indian Agriculture.

    According to Dr Ambedkar, productivity of Agriculture is related to, not only with the size of land holding, but also with factors such as capital, labour and other inputs. Considering the fact that nearly three-fourth of farm families from Marathwada belong to the category of small and marginal farmers, farmers must adopt the concept of collective farming or group farming approach, suggested by Dr Ambedkar nearly seven decades ago.

    During last two and half decades, there is a change in the cropping pattern of the region predominantly under cotton and soybean. The area under cotton has increased from 27.21 lakh hectares to 41.61 lakh hectares during the last two decades. The soybean cultivation too has increased from 2.00 lakh hectares to 35.00 lakh hectares.

    The sugar industry in the region has also led to increase in the cultivation of sugarcane from 5.3 lakh hectares to nearly 11.00 lakh hectares. This has resulted into increased demand for water resources during the last two decades. The expansion of area under sugarcane and horticulture has largely driven to exploitation of ground water resources. The change in the cropping pattern has also affected the availability of fodder with drastic fall in the jowar and bajra cropping. Lack of availability of dry and green fodder in the region has adversely impacted the development of livestock and dairy sector.

    For ages, our farmer brothers and sisters believed that flood irrigation or inundating the field with water was necessary for the growth of crops. I would like to tell my farmer brothers and sisters that science has proved that even sugarcane can be grown using sprinkler irrigation. In fact the sugar content in the sugarcane produced using sprinkler is more.

    Agricultural Universities must also focus on developing varieties with multiple stress tolerance like drought, excess water, heat, etc. An advanced weather forecasting system coupled with advisories to the farmers needs to be developed.

    Degradation of soil resources due to depletion and imbalance into the plant nutrient availability is another cause of concern. We need to carefully monitor the soil health status of our soil through the network of Soil Testing Laboratories. The need for distribution of Soil Health Cards to individual farmer is a right step in that direction.

    Post harvest management and value addition of farm produce goes a long way in improving the income of farm families leading to livelihood security of large masses residing in our villages. In this connection, I would like to inform you that the Government of India has opened 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment in Agro Processing. Maharashtra is a leader in production of Mangoes, Grapes, Bananas, Sweet Lemons, Chickoos, Stawberries, Pomegranates, etc. I am sure FDI in food processing will help our farmers to make value addition to their agricultural and horticultural produce and increase their incomes.

    A holistic farming system approach involving livestock and dairy activity, sericulture, goat keeping, honey-making, poultry, etc. will go a long way in improving the livelihood security of Maharashtra.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    The Hon’ble Prime Minister has expressed the resolve of the government to double the income of farmers by 2022.

    I would like to particularly mention that e- NAM, the online trading platform of National Agricultural Market is going to be a game changer in the empowerment of farmers. I will appeal to all farmers to understand the e- NAM scheme and profit from this initiative.

    Ladies and gentlemen,

    India has the potential not just to feed the nation, but also to feed many countries of the world. In fact, rain-deficient countries like Saudi Arabia are only willing to import quality food products from India. We must take advantage of these opportunities and try to become the food bowl for many countries of the world.

    I wish and hope that the Workshop on Agriculture will address the concerns of farmers and prove to be a rewarding experience for all the participants. I congratulate all of you and wish you fruitful deliberations.

    Thank you

    Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!