Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Wednesday stressed the need to make farming a lucrative career opportunity, especially for the youth, by making agriculture economically viable and financially rewarding.
He said one of the important prerequisites to ensure a sustainable and inclusive growth in India was to shape a healthy and robust agricultural sector.
“We have to make farming a lucrative career opportunity, especially for the youth, by making agriculture economically viable and financially rewarding, if we are to harvest the dividend from our demographical advantage comprehensively and ensure food security.
Speaking at the eighth convocation of Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University here, he referred to the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) estimates, which said rural India had an estimated 90.2 million agricultural households.
“Facilitating sustainable income for all these households should be your primary endeavour,” he told the students.
Naidu said livestock production and agriculture are intrinsically linked and both are crucial for overall food security.
He pointed out that the agriculture industry contributes 17 per cent of Indias total GDP, of which the 27 per cent comes from Animal Husbandry.
Overall, the dairy, poultry and aqua industries contribute 4.4 per cent to the nations GDP.
“The numbers signify the crucial role played by these sectors in our economy. They employ nearly 16 million people across the nation. Animal husbandry is vital for ensuring a more inclusive and sustainable agriculture system,” he said.
Naidu said the NSSO estimates that livestock is the principle source of income for nearly 23 per cent of agricultural households in the country with very small land holdings of less than 0.01 hectares.
Integrated farming practises would certainly help double farmer’s income by 2022 and hence ensuring the health and improving productivity of livestock was paramount, he said.
The Vice President also spoke of the need to conserve and improve the productivity of indigenous breeds of cattle, whose numbers were now declining.
“India is blessed with a huge biodiversity of indigenous cattle that have survived over hundreds of years in local habitats. But unfortunately, their number is declining. Hence, the need of the hour is to conserve and improve the productivity of our indigenous breeds,” he said.
Naidu cited the example of e- pashuhaat, a web portal launched under the scheme “National Mission on Bovine Productivity,” which aims to connect breeders and farmers on availability of bovine germ plasm, thus eliminating middlemen.
The Vice President also urged Universities to continually collaborate with each other and develop linkages with industries to develop human resource, augment technology and find solutions to problems faced by the farmers.