IANS

Accord highest priority to agriculture: Naidu

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday urged policy makers to accord highest priority to agriculture as it provided employment to more than 50 per cent of the population.

He said there was need to accord the most favoured status for agriculture to give impetus to the farmers and provide infrastructure, irrigation, investment, insurance and credit.

They should have positive bias towards agriculture and rural areas while allocating resources, he said after presenting the first World Agriculture Prize, instituted by the Indian Council of Food and Agriculture, to noted agronomist M.S. Swaminathan.

Naidu called Swaminathan “a Vishwa Guru in agriculture”.

Stressing the need to re-think the development paradigm and see how to make agriculture more economically viable and attractive, Naidu called for regular and effective coordination between scientists, policy makers and farmers to make it sustainable.

Concerned over the decrease in number of people engaged in agriculture, he asked for concerted, coordinated action to address a number of issues that impact the growth of agriculture sector and the quality of life of people who depend primarily on this sector.

Talking on the ill-effects of climate Change, Naidu said it impacted every aspect of life, including agriculture, and asked scientists and policy makers to evolve strategies to cope with the changing climate, depleting resource base and increasing food demand.

“This calls for policy changes in agriculture sector. We should focus on developing climate resilient crops. We need to develop crops that can withstand extreme weather conditions,” he said.

The Vice President also said that hidden hunger and nutritional deficiencies were major challenges before the world.

–IANS
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