Minister says India considering insurance scheme for farmers

The Indian government is considering introducing a viable insurance scheme for farmers in its efforts to give a much needed boost to the farm industry after earlier initiatives, including the proposed agricultural market scheme that it feels will revolutionise the sector.

Agriculture is a state subject and as per the state requirements respective governments are initiating their programmes but the central government has always supported the states with relevant schemes and other strategic information and advisory for success of agriculture sector, Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare radha Mohan Singh said.

“The government policies of Pradhan Mantri Krishi SinchaiYojana, Soil Health Card Scheme, Prampragat Krishi VikasYojana, proposed National Agricultural market scheme will revolutionarise agriculture in years to come. The government is also seriously debating on bringing out a viable insurance scheme for the farmers,” he said, according to a government statement.

The minister said that  that besides food security, nutritional security has been a concern and this has to be appropriately dealt with. “Currently, one third of global production is lost or wasted annually which is enough to feed two billion people for a year. Most food loss takes place in post-production, harvesting, transportation and storage. This is a huge loss on account of economy, environmental and societal significance. Around 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger, under nutrition remains wide spread with some two billion people lacking essential nutrients like iron, zinc and vitamin A,” he said.

FAO estimates that world food production must rise 60% to keep pace with demographic change. Whereas IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change) predicts that crop yields may decline by 10-20% by 2050, he said, adding that rising temperature are predicted to reduce catches of the world main fish species by 40%. Live-stock contributes nearly 2/3 of agriculture’s green house and 70% of its methane gas emissions.

The soils are getting endangered by different ways which include imbalanced fertiliser, growing of exhaustive crops, non-inclusion of leguminous crops in the cropping systems and reducing organic carbon in the soil.  As the holdings are getting smaller, the farmers need models which could ensure food security as well as regular flow of income from their land, he said, urging experts to come up with suggestions to boost the farm sector.

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