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Agriculture provides livelihood for over 2.5 billion people globally : PM

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Hyderabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said agriculture provides livelihood for over 2.5 billion people globally.

In a video message to the three-day G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meet which began here from Thursday, Modi said in the Global South, Agriculture accounts for almost 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over 60 per cent of jobs.

He urged to deliberate on how to undertake collective action to achieve global food security. We must find ways to build sustainable and inclusive food systems, focussed on marginal farmers and must find ways to strengthen global fertilizer supply chains. At the same time, agricultural practices for better soil health, crop health and yield has to be adopted.

Stating that Agriculture is at the heart of human civilization, the Prime Minister said, as Agriculture Ministers, your task is not simply that of handling one sector of the economy. You shoulder a big responsibility for the future of humanity.

And today, this sector faces several challenges. The supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic have been worsened by the impact of geo-political tensions. Climate Change is causing extreme weather event more and more frequently. These challenges are felt most by the Global South, he said.

Modi said We are promoting Natural Farming as well as Technology-enabled Farming. Farmers all over India are taking up natural farming now. They are not using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Their focus is on rejuvenating the mother earth, protecting soil health, producing ‘per drop, more crop’, and promoting organic fertilizers and pest management solutions.

At the same time, our farmers are proactively using technology to boost productivity. They are generating and using solar power on their farms. They are using Soil Health Cards to optimize crop selection, and drones to spray nutrients and monitor their crops.

I believe this ”fusion approach” is the best way to address several issues in agriculture.

The PM said as you know, the year 2023 is being celebrated as the International Year of Millets. You will find a reflection of this on your plates in Hyderabad, with many dishes based on millets, or Shri Anna, as we call it in India. These superfoods are not only healthy to consume, but they also help raise the incomes of our farmers by using less water, needing less fertilizer, and being more pest-resistant.

Of course, Millets are not new. They have been cultivated for thousands of years. But markets and marketing had influenced our choices so much that we forgot the value of traditionally grown food crops.

Let us embrace Shri Anna Millets as the food of our choice. As part of our own commitment, India is developing an Institute of Millets Research as a Centre of Excellence – for sharing best practices, research and technologies in millets, the Prime Minister said.

Traditional practices from different parts of the world may inspire us to develop alternatives for regenerative agriculture. We need to empower our farmers with innovation and digital technology. We must also make solutions affordable for small and marginal farmers in the Global South. There is also an urgent need to reduce agricultural and food waste, and instead, invest in creating wealth from waste.

Modi said India’s G20 priorities in agriculture focus on healing our ‘One Earth’, creating harmony within our ‘One Family’ and giving hope for a bright ‘One Future’.

I am happy to learn that you are working on two concrete outcomes. The ”Deccan High level Principles on Food Security and Nutrition”; And, the ”MAHARISHI” initiative for Millets and other grains. The support to these two initiatives, is a statement in support for inclusive, sustainable, and resilient agriculture. I wish you all success in your deliberations, he concluded.

The three-day event, was attended by more than 200 delegates from G20 member countries, invited countries and International Organizations.

The event was graced by the Agriculture Ministers from various countries and the Director Generals from International Organizations.

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