VP M Venkaiah Naidu also called for greater use of technology in food management

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has emphasised the need to promote agro-based industries in rural areas so as to create employment opportunities for the rural youth.

Referring to the phenomena of reverse migration from cities to villages during the COVID-19 pandemic, he said on Sunday that entrepreneurship in agriculture can immensely benefit the Indian economy by creating jobs in areas where they are needed the most.

The Vice President was addressing the second Annual Convocation of Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agricultural University, Pusa at its Piprakothi Campus (East Champaran) in Bihar.

According to VP Naidu, the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) can immensely help small and marginal farmers with forward (processing, marketing and export) and backward (input and extension services) linkages in the Food Supply Chains.

He emphasised the need to promote FPOs through handholding and capacity building, and appreciated the University for initiating training programmes in this regard.

Reiterating that there was a lot of scope for food processing in India, he urged universities to encourage farmers in their respective region to form collectives.

Indian agriculture was characterized by marginal and small farmers with fewer resources, the Vice President noted as he highlighted the need for increasing the farmers’ income through various sources, including improved resource use efficiency.

He also called for greater use of technology in food management to ensure food security for all.

“The developed world is already reaping benefits from the use of Artificial Intelligence in agriculture and India too must harness its potential to help improve farm income," he said.

VP Naidu lauded the farmers for record foodgrain production despite the challenges thrown by Covid-19 pandemic.

"We must see that the agri-sector is given all the support that is needed for development and sustenance of agriculture,” he pointed out.

Terming agriculture as one of the main pillars of the Indian economy, he exhorted the young agri-professionals to work for the development of this crucial sector.