On the evening of Tuesday 10th September 2013 Shri Narendra Modi addressed the valedictory session of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Agriculture Summit at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. Shri Modi said that we should dream of filling the world’s stomach and shared his vision on the growth of agriculture sector.
Shri Modi stressed on holistic water management that can help our farmers. He said that while some parts of our nation face problems due to abundant water, the other parts face problems because they do not get much water and this is what holistic water management could solve. He recalled that when Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, the Government was working on a dream of integrating the rivers. Shri Modi shared that in Gujarat, the Narmada has been integrated with over 20 rivers and a prime example is that the water flowing in the Sabarmati is actually water of the Narmada river! He opined that such things can be done on a bigger scale across the nation. “Interlinking of river water grid is what we as a nation must think about in the coming days,” stated the Chief Minister.
Likewise, Shri Modi talked about the importance of wastewater treatment and that if they reach the farmers, it can remove tension between the villages and the cities.
The Chief Minister called for integrating the youth, especially the rural youth of the nation into agriculture. He recalled his visit to an agriculture University where he noticed that out of 35 farmers he was honouring, about 25-28 were around the age of 30. He noted that changes in agriculture would help the young farmers immensely and added that it is not essential that the young farmers face the same problems as their previous generations did.
In his speech, Shri Modi also drew focus on combining agriculture with allied activities be it poultry farming, fisheries, agro-forestry etc. He also talked about seaweed cultivation in the coastal areas and the steps Gujarat has taken to promote the same. He even stressed on the importance of agro marketing linkages to help the farmer.
Shri Modi said that there are a lot of PHDs in agriculture and there is a lot of research in agriculture but that research must go into helping someone. Thus, he called for ‘lab to land’ approach and also called for compiling together all the research done on agriculture so that it can help the concerned people on the ground. Shri Modi spoke about strengthening financial networks for the farmers.
Referring to the opposition from vested interest groups who questioned the Gujarat Government’s decision to award progressive farmers from other states Shri Modi said, “Today some have questioned why Modi is giving Rs. 51,000 to farmers of other states. But, this nation is one. Do we not owe it to farmers of other states? In times of drought is it not farmers of other states who help us? Do we not thank the farmer, wherever he or she is, who fills our stomachs? We gain so much due to our farmers. No divisions must be made among farmers. We need to unite and integrate. May this land be Sujalam Sufalam.” Shri Modi pointed that while there is news of states fighting over water, Gujarat gladly gave Narmada water to Rajasthan when the state required it. “We have to help each other in this nation and that is when he will succeed,” said Shri Modi.
He also thanked the participants for attending the 2-day summit and apologized if there was any visitor faced any difficulty. Shri Modi also invited people to participate in the next edition of the Summit.
The session was attended by Cabinet Ministers of Gujarat including Finance Minister Nitinbhai Patel, Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel, Forest Minister Ganpatbhai Vasava, Sports Minister Ramanlal Vora and Ministers of State. The Agriculture Minister of Chhattisgarh attended the programme. Also present was Agriculture Secretary, Government of India Shri Ashish Bahuguna and Dr. Ayappan.