Find innovative ways to make farming an attractive occupation, Indian minister tells SAARC
Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
Published: 2016-04-08 02:08:38.0 BdST Updated: 2016-04-08 02:23:34.0 BdST
The Indian agriculture minister has called upon SAARC countries to make farming attractive to the youth so that they take it up as an occupation.
Radha Mohan Singh said in Dhaka on Thursday the shift in workforce from agriculture to non-agricultural sectors remained “far below the expected levels”.
That means the growth of agriculture sector would continue to play a “paramount” role in eradicating poverty, hunger and inclusive growth of the region.
“We need to address the concerns of economic inequality and instability being faced by farming community,” Singh said.
“In this endeavour we will have to make agriculture more innovative, economically rewarding, e- and intellectually stimulating, especially if we want to draw youth to take up agricultural as an occupation,” he said.
The union agriculture and farmers’ welfare minister was speaking at the 3rd SAARC Agricultural Ministers’ meeting in Dhaka.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the meeting that ended with a ‘Dhaka statement’ where ministers agreed on 12 issues to work together.
The South Asia is home to over 1.5 billion people that constitute 23.7 percent of global population.
The share of the region in global arable land is 14 percent. About 281 million people are estimated to be undernourished.
The minister said agriculture in the region was dominated by small holdings as holdings below one hectare account for more than 60 percent of total farm holdings. This small holdings cultivation results in low productivity and low farm incomes.
“As a result, the rise in per capita income in agriculture sector also remains below the non-agriculture sector,” he said, adding that cooperation was the “key” to common development.
“Agriculture in our SAARC countries has evolved along with our civilisations and culture and therefore, besides being a source of food and livelihood security, it remains integral to our social customs as well.
“We must continuously endeavour to make agriculture robust and a main instrument of economic prosperity,” Singh added.
The minister visited Dhakeswari National Temple after the meeting, the Indian High Commission said.
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