September 24, 2023

PANAJI: CM Pramod Sawant on Tuesday pitched for a privatisation push in agriculture and said that advanced and integrated farming will improve yields and exports. “If we turn to the government for every aspect of agriculture, things will not work. Only privatisation can ensure that changes take place in agriculture,” Sawant said.
He said that to benefit farmers, a soil-testing lab will be set up at Agriculture College at Old Goa and at taluka levels at government colleges. “So, farmers will be able to get soil tested at the taluka level itself,” he said.
Speaking at a function in Pernem, Sawant urged farmers to apply for last year’s paddy and cashew subsidies. He said the government will disburse them expeditiously. “We have increased the cashew subsidy from Rs 125 to Rs 150 per kg. Those who have submitted their bills till March will get the payment,” he said.
The chief minister said that farmers should venture into advanced farming and integrated farming. “We cannot continue with traditional farming,” he said. Pointing out the fact that the state purchases sweet potatoes worth Rs 25 lakh per month from neighbouring states, Sawant said farmers should grow that crop and earn additional money.
Sawant said that state and central governments will offer full support to the farmers of Goa. The CM said that he has instructed the government to support pisciculture and horticulture too. He said that the state government has started using drones to sprinkle pesticides on crops.
Some farmers, Sawant said, have been deprived of subsidies because their names are not on Form I & XIV. He said the state government has approached the Union government seeking permission to provide the benefits to such farmers. Sawant said that he understands the problems of farmers as he is also an agriculturist.
“To promote agriculture, we need to train farmers,” he said. “To increase exports, we need to boost yields.” The chief minister said that Goa has a new airport which can be an export hub for farmers. He said that soil health should be monitored by farmers to determine the type of fertilisers to use

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