Union State Minister for Agriculture and Farmer Welfare Shobha Karandlaje said the Center will prioritize promoting agricultural export clusters in Karnataka.
Speaking to the media in Udupi, she said that at present, Karnataka has export hubs for coffee, pepper and pink onion. It is possible to create export clusters for turmeric, fruits, jaggery, millets and other agricultural products.
The minister said that the state can promote the cultivation of millet. At present, Uttarakhand is a leader in the export of millets to India. The climate of southern India is suitable for the cultivation of millet. The United Nations, at the request of India, declared 2023 the International Year of Millet.
Udupi-Chikkamagaluru Constituency MP Karandlaje said many states in the northeast have traditionally grown crops using organic methods. These crops and their by-products are in high demand by agricultural enterprises for the export market.
The minister said that the Union government, through the Agricultural Infrastructure Fund, insists on the creation of more agricultural producer organizations (OPAs), in particular by organizing small and medium farmers.
Oil seeds, cereals, legumes
Ms Karandlaje said the country has not yet become self-sufficient in the production of oilseeds, grains and pulses. About 70% of edible oil is imported. Therefore, the government has started providing free mini oilseed kits to farmers to encourage production. It is also investing in research and development to make oilseed cultivation profitable in the dryland belt and in the development of advanced processing technologies.
Ms Karandlaje said that the Union’s Cabinet recently decided to lift the ban on the export of coconut and its products. This will help many farmers, and coconut prices will stabilize after a year. The government has also decided to appoint a coconut farmer to chair the Coconut Development Board instead of appointing an IAS official to that post.
The Union Minister said that after the COVID-19 pandemic, some young people are returning from cities to engage in agriculture, which appears to have contributed to the increase in production in the country.