Maharashtra to get a new agriculture policy

The Maharashtra government is all set to draft a new agriculture policy which will take into account the new challenges in the field.

Interacting with the media in Pune on Thursday, Agriculture Minister Pandurang Fundkar said the state planned to set up a seed hub for production of seeds in the state.

“The field of agriculture has many challenges before it. Climate change, farmers’ suicide, labour shortage are some of the many challenges before us. The new agriculture policy will address them and help in serving the farmers better,” he said. The policy, the minister said, would be drawn up in the next 5-6 months and would take inputs of other states in terms of their best agricultural practices.

Seed production especially for food crop would also be looked into by the state government. In this regard, the agriculture department plans to set up seed hubs in Jalna in Buldhana area of the state. At these centres, seeds for various crops will be produced for the farmers.
At present, although there are seed companies operational in the state, most of the seed is produced in other states, including Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka.

Another important project, which the state government plans to take up, is a re-survey of horticulture cultivation. The project which has started in seven districts of the state will soon see surveys in all the districts. Both satellite surveys and on-ground authentication will be undertaken.

The issue of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) withholding accreditation to the four state agricultural universities was also touched upon by the minister. “One of the major reasons for this was the vacancies in the agricultural universities and we have promised to fill up these vacant posts soon. We had meetings with the central agricultural minister who has promised to help us,” he said.