Food security has become a matter of global concern due to the continuously growing population and it is crucial to make efforts to use the available agricultural land optimally and also to increase agriculture productivity, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on Monday.
Chouhan was inaugurating the first Agriculture Deputies Meeting (ADM) of G20's Agriculture Working Group (AWG) at Indore. The ADM will continue till February 15. Around a hundred delegates from G20 member countries, guest countries and international organizations are expected to participate in the meeting.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Chouhan said that only 12 per cent of the global land is arable. “By 2030, the global demand for food grains will rise to 345 billion tonnes compared to 192 billion tonnes in 2000. But neither will the availability of agricultural land increase nor will other natural resources. So efforts towards optimal agriculture are a must,” he said.
The CM said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up the promotion of millets as a campaign and the United Nations has also announced 2023 as the International Year of Millets. “We should make all efforts to ensure that these nutritious food grains do not become extinct,” Chouhan said.
Saying he himself is a farmer who believes in innovation, Chouhan said that if the global need for food grains is to be fulfilled, the foremost thing will be to increase productivity through the promotion of mechanization, digitalization, new technologies and newer seeds. “Madhya Pradesh is constantly making efforts in this direction. Small and big farmers, women and youth should be encouraged to use new techniques that will help in fulfilling food grains' needs.”
He said that under the leadership of PM Modi, MP has shown constant improvement in the agriculture growth rate. The state is the top producer of oilseeds and produces 60 per cent of soybeans. It is also the biggest producer of wheat. From 7.5 lakh hectares in 2003, MP now has 45 lakh irrigated land. The use of new techniques and good quality seeds are being promoted in the state.
Chouhan further said that to ensure adequate production of cereals, fruits and vegetables that do not have any alternatives, we have to put the interests of farmers first. “Efforts to provide all kinds of support, reduction of production cost and making agriculture a profitable business are being carried on under the leadership of PM Modi,” he added.
He also stressed on diversification of agriculture through horticulture, vegetable growing, medicinal plants, animal rearing, fisheries, milk production and others. “Safeguarding the health of the earth is our biggest duty. Rampant use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides has badly impacted soil health and quality and also caused negative impact on human health. It is an ancient idea in India that we should only tap nature as required and not exploit it mindlessly. For ecological balance, it is important that wildlife also flourishes with human beings.”
State minister Tulsiram Silawat, Rajya Sabha member Kavita Patidar, MP Shankar Lalwani and Indore mayor Pushyamitra Bhargava were also present on the occasion.
Chouhan also inaugurated an exhibition showcasing millets and its value-added food products along with stalls from the animal husbandry and fisheries sector.
On the first day of the ADM, two side events on agriculture-related matters were scheduled. Day Two will witness the presence of the Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia. There will be a general discussion among the participating members and international organizations on this day, a note on the G20 website said.
Day three will be dedicated to the deliberations on the key deliverables of the AWG. It will be a technical session with discussions and participation from all concerned members and international organizations.
“On Monday morning, the delegates participated in a heritage walk from Bolia Chhatri Rajbada to Gopal Mandir to get an experience of the rich Indian history through heritage walk to Rajwada Palace. An excursion to Mandu Fort, gala dinners and cultural performances are planned to provide a taste of Indian cuisine and culture to the delegates,” the note said.