Bhubaneswar: Odisha Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment Dr Arun Sahoo spelt out the steps the state government has taken to boost the agricultural sector in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The government has declared a package of Rs 200 crores for the farmers amid the COVID-19 outbreak… It will benefit 25 lakh farmers,” chief guest Dr Sahoo said while speaking at the E-Conference webinar on ‘Paradigm of COVID-19: Challenges & Opportunities for Agri, Food Production & Horticulture Sector in Odisha’ organized by Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in Bhubaneswar on Thursday.
The minister added that the government has also announced a special livelihood intervention package worth Rs 17,000 crore, aimed at generating employment opportunities through agriculture, fisheries, MGNREGS, skill development, handloom, forestry and handicrafts.
A helpline named ‘Ama Krushi’ has been created for farmers to get help on farming and marketing-related information, while recently, a scheme called ‘Balaram’ has been launched to provide agricultural credit of Rs 1040 crore to landless farmers facing hardship due to the pandemic. The scheme will benefit 7 lakh landless cultivators over next 2 years, the minister informed.
Principal Secretary, Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Dr Saurabh Garg said that the Odisha government has launched the Mukhyamantri Krushi Udyog Yojna, whose main objective is to bring about a shift from subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture by motivating farmers and entrepreneurs on commercial agri-enterprises.
About 200 delegates, including officials from ICC and agri-based industries, farmers, FPOs, consultants and NGOs attended the conference.