Shri Narendra Modi addressed farmers of South Gujarat at the Krishi Mahotsav in Bharuch (Bharuch district) on the morning of Saturday 18th May 2013. Shri Modi also visited the Krishi Melas and Pashu Arogya Melas during the programme. In his speech Shri Modi said that the need of the hour is to integrate technology in farming. He also added that the state Government is taking concrete steps to ensure that no farmer has to ever be under the burden of debt. The Chief Minister stressed on the importance on animal husbandry and shared that there are 122 animal diseases that have been completely eliminated from Gujarat. He further spoke that apart from the cataract and dental operations for animals that have been going on for many years, this time orthopedic treatment is being provided to the animals. He said that milk production in Gujarat has risen by over 65% and this is due to the efforts in animal husbandry. Shri Modi strongly urged the farmers to visit the agriculture fairs and the animal husbandry fairs and gain insightful knowledge from them.
The Chief Minister recalled that for years, we were told that India is a nation of farmers, that it lives in the villages and that it is an agricultural nation but over the years, this importance receded. He categorically stated, “If we have to improve our economy, give jobs to our youth and strengthen our villages then there is no other way apart from strengthening our agriculture. The more our agriculture improves, the more our villages will improve. “ He added, “Nation is falling behind in agriculture. If Khedut Putra, Sardar Patel had become the first Prime Minister, this would not be happening to our farmers. Somehow we took the wrong way.”
Shri Modi said that Gujarat and agriculture were never associated with each other. Gujarat was known as a drought prone state and not blessed with perennial rivers. “Earlier, Gujarat’s agriculture growth used to be half of that nation’s. If the nation’s agriculture grew at 3%, Gujarat would grow at 1.5%. But today this has changed. Our agriculture growth rate is 3-4 times that of the national average. This happened due to our farmers. I congratulate them!” Shri Modi declared. He described these strides in agriculture made by Gujarat as historic. The Chief Minister congratulated the lakh state Government employees who are going to the villages and meeting the farmers in this scorching heat.
Talking about the Krishi Mahotsav initiative, Shri Modi said, “We started Krishi Mahotsavs because we wanted farmers to innovate, to do new things, so that the farmer can harness his or her skill. We want to improve the quality of land so that production can rise. This is why we started this Yagna.” He shared that he was amazed to see the Krishi Melas and said they showcased what results would be possible if our farmers work hard.
In his speech he also talked at length about the Wadi Project for farmers of the tribal community. “Due to this project, our tribal farmers are growing cashew nuts! Former President Dr. Kalam spent a day with them to see the working of the project,” he avowed. He added that a budget of Rs. 4000 crore has been given to improve the water situation in tribal dominated areas. Shri Modi spoke on how the Government is encouraging women of coastal areas to embrace seaweed cultivation. Shri Modi told the farmers that the area of land is not going to increase but what can increase is productivity. He recalled that when he urged farmers of South Gujarat to embrace drip irrigation and sprinklers for sugarcane cultivation they did not take him very seriously but after they embraced drip irrigation and sprinklers, their production grew and water was conserved. He urged the farmers to grow more trees as well.
Shri Modi also came down heavily on anti-Gujarat elements. He stated, “Today some people are busy doing one thing- negate Gujarat, at any cost. Anything comes on Gujarat, negate it. I am sure there will be a day when an NGO will start an award that will honor that NGO that defames Gujarat in the ‘best’ manner.”
Earlier, Shri Modi honored progressive farmers. Several progressive farmers also welcomed the Chief Minister with their produce. Agriculture Minister Shri Babubhai Bokhiria was present on the occasion. Also present were Minister of State Shri Pradeepsinh Jadeja, Rajya Sabha MP Shri Bharatsinh Parmar, Lok Sabha MP Shri CR Patil, local MLAs and other dignitaries.