New Delhi [India], September 6 (ANI): Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday said that agriculture has to be linked with digital technology, scientific research, and knowledge, and emphasized the need for the Central government and state governments to work together for agriculture to give a boost to the economy.

While speaking at the Chief Ministers’ conference on initiatives and schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoAFW) held via video conferencing, Tomar talked about digital agriculture and urged all states to study the Karnataka Model, presented during the conference.

As per a press release of the MoAFW, Tomar asked the states to create a database using the federated farmer database prepared by the Government of India and allow linkage to the state land record database.

“The MoAFW has created a database of 5.5 crore farmers and it will be increased to 8 crore farmers by December 2021 with the help of State governments. The establishment of Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, FPOs, PACS, Mandis and start-ups will get loans easily,” Tomar said.

Talking about the Oil Palm Mission, Tomar said that the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has conducted a study on the areas in which oil palm cultivation can be expanded.

Union Minister for Commerce Piyush Goyal said that with an increase in agriculture exports, India is emerging as a trusted export partner and there is further scope for improvement of agri-exports. He emphasized that the infrastructure needs to be strengthened for storage and warehousing.

According to the release, the objectives of the conference were to highlight the salient features of AatmanirbharKrishi and to enable States to enhance farmers’ income. It was also an occasion to share innovative initiatives undertaken by the states.

“The discussion with the States centred around the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund set up to drive infrastructure investment. The recent modifications in the scheme were explained – the eligibility has been extended to APMSs/state agencies/ National and state federations of cooperatives/ FPOs and SHGs. The eligible activities were explained like community farming, assets, post-harvest management projects, and primary processing,” it added.

Further, the need to make India self-reliant in edible oils and palms was stressed and the role of the States was discussed. Digital agriculture and the use of emerging technology for smart agriculture were also discussed.

During the virtual meeting, the concept of the farmers’ database was explained.

“A national farmer database is being created by taking data from existing schemes like PM-KISAN, soil health card, and PM Fasal Bima Yojana. The database will have connectivity to the State land records database. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi and the saturation of Kisan Credit Card for small and marginal farmers were also discussed. Upgradation of the beneficiary database was emphasized. There was discussion on the export of agriculture products and the role of APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) in increasing agriculture exports. APEDA will facilitate cluster-centric capacity building exercise for state officials, FPOs, farmers, start-ups, etc,” the release informed. (ANI)