Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said that the Centre will give priority to promoting export clusters of farm products in Karnataka.
Addressing mediapersons in Udupi, she said that presently Karnataka has export clusters for coffee, pepper and rose onion. There is scope for setting up export clusters for turmeric, fruits, jaggery, millets and other farm products.
The Minister said that the State can promote cultivation of millets. At present, Uttarakhand leads in the export of millets in India. South Indian weather suits millet cultivation. The United Nations, on a request by India, has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
Ms. Karandlaje, who is the Member of Parliament from Udupi-Chikkamagaluru constituency, said that many North Eastern States traditionally cultivate crops using organic methods. Such crops and their by-products are in great demand among farm companies for the export market.
The Minister said that the Union government, through Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, is stressing on establishing more farmer producer organisations (FPOs), especially by organising small and medium farmers.
Oil seeds, cereals, pulses
Ms. Karandlaje said that the country is yet to become self-sufficient in the production of oil seeds, cereals and pulses. About 70% of edible oil is imported. Hence, the government has begun providing free mini kits of oil seeds to farmers to encourage production. It is also investing on research and development into making oil seed cultivation profitable in the dry land belt and on developing advanced processing technologies.
Ms. Karandlaje said that the Union Cabinet recently decided to lift the ban on export of coconut and its products. It will help many farmers and coconut prices will stabilise after a year. The government has also decided to nominate a coconut grower as chairperson of the Coconut Development Board instead of appointing an IAS officer to the post.
The Union Minister said that, post COVID-19 pandemic, some youth are returning from cities to take up farming, which appears to have contributed to increased production in the country.