On Monday 9th September 2013 Shri Narendra Modi addressed the inaugural session of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit 2013 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit is the first of its kind initiative that gives farmers the opportunity to learn about the latest and best practices in agriculture from across the world. Over 200 companies from over 15 nations will showcase their expertise in agriculture. The Summit will include a Kisan Panchayat where over 10,000 farmers will be a part of the Panchayat. There will also be country seminars by Israel, Netherlands and Denmark. Punjab Chief Minister Shri Parkash Singh Badal was present on the occasion.
Speaking about the success of Gujarat in agriculture, Shri Modi said that earlier Gujarat was never on the agriculture map of the nation but that has changed in the last few years. He stated that this Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit is a platform that enables progressive farmers from all over the nation to share their experiences. He recalled his earlier visit to Israel and added that when he visited Israel for an agriculture fair, he thought why not have such a fair in India as well. The Chief Minister opined that this event is for the entire nation. Shri Modi noted that despite being the auspicious festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, several progressive farmers have come from Maharashtra.
The Chief Minister talked about the steps taken by Gujarat to enhance irrigation facilities for the farmers. He shared that when he took over, the land under irrigation was 12,000 hectares but now the figure stands at 9,00,000 hectares. Shri Modi added that irrigation is not only about saving water but also about saving hard work.
Shri Modi pointed that as the families are increasing, the amount of land is remaining the same, which makes it important to increase productivity. He stressed on the need to work on how to grow more in reduced land. Shri Modi affirmed that while politicians are working on how to protect the size of the land, efforts must also be made to worry about the health of our land. He talked about Gujarat’s efforts of giving soil health cards.
During his speech Shri Modi called for the integration of technology and e-governance into agriculture. He stressed on giving the benefits of the IT revolution to benefit the farmers in order to help make our farmers more global. He remarked that it is unfortunate that the share of farming in the GDP has dropped considerably.
The Chief Minister stated that while we talk about loan waiver to the farmers, we should also look at preventing our farmers from falling under debt at all. He commented that the Centre talks about banking success in agriculture but less than 30% of the farmers get loans from banks. Shri Modi further added that the rate of farmer suicides is high and the reason is debt, which is why we need to work towards integrating our farmers with the banking setup. For that, the Chief Minister called for placing trust in our farmers and simplifying processes as methods to help our farmers.
Shri Modi questioned why is it that productivity is low despite having the best talents, universities and scholars? He asked why is it that despite having so many animals, milk production is still lesser than what it should be. He shared that no research has been done to increase the productivity of pulses. Likewise, the Chief Minister called for proper measurement of land, which was last done during the time of Todar Mal. Shri Modi also expressed his concern that there is no mechanism to map real time production in our country.
He said that he had proposed to the Centre that along with JNNURM, 500 towns should be selected to work on solid waste management, produce fertilizer and recycled water that can be given to farmers in the nearby villages. But, Shri Modi pointed that the Prime Minister appreciated the idea but nothing happened subsequently. Yet, Shri Modi introduced this initiative in Gujarat, where 50 towns have been identified for this. Similarly, Shri Modi shared that he headed a committee appointed by the Prime Minister which made some key recommendations but unfortunately no progress has taken place on them.
Shri Modi commented that in the coming days the importance of organic farming will increase and the focus would be on holistic healthcare. He called for empowering the farmers so they can fill the stomach of the world. On the occasion Shri Modi released a book as well. At the end of his speech, a video film on the proposed Statue of Unity was played.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Chief Minister Shri Parkash Singh Badal congratulated Shri Narendra Modi for organizing such an event for the first time in India’s history. He affirmed that such an event should happen all over and that Punjab would also be doing a Summit on the lines of what Gujarat has done. Shri Badal made wonderful points on the important role of agriculture. He came down heavily on the Centre for neither consulting Chief Ministers of experts on issues related to agriculture. He opined that for so many years the farmers have contributed to the nation thus, it is for the Government to help the farmers when they face any crisis. He spoke against the inability of the Centre to understand farmers and said that both villages and farmers are being neglected when they should be given priority. He said that farmers are very docile but when the farmer stands up, it will be difficult to control his anger. Shri Badal also talked about the development in Punjab during the last six years.
Madhya Pradesh Minister Dr. Ramkrishna Kusmaria described Shri Modi as the future of India. He talked about the success of Madhya Pradesh in agriculture. Dr. Ashok Gulati gave an insightful speech on agriculture during the start of the session. Gujarat Agriculture Minister Shri Babubhai Bokhiria welcomed all the participants on behalf of the Government.
Top members of the Gujarat Cabinet, dignitaries from overseas and farmers from all over India were present on the occasion.