Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar said on Wednesday that there was a need to further increase the minimum support prices (MSP) of agricultural produce for the sake of farmers' prosperity.
Pawar said 80% of the country's population was dependent on agriculture, but adequate arrangements for the supply of irrigation water were not available to 60-80% of the farmers.
Addressing a gathering at the launch of doorstep livestock breeding services following the 'Murrah on the ramp' function, Pawar assured Centre's help to Haryana for the development of the Murrah breed of buffaloes. There is a need to ensure that such buffaloes reach every village in the country so that farmers get new avenues of employment and children get nutritious milk, he added.
Pawar and Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda also gave away incentive amounting to Rs 8.22 crore to 11,500 milk producers having Murrah buffaloes. The money was given on the basis of the quantity of the milk yield. The function was organised by the Haryana animal husbandry and dairy department and JK Trust.
In his address, Hooda described the buffalo breed as 'black gold' and hoped that such 'Murrah on the ramp' programmes would also be organised at the district level in the near future.
Urging the union minister to set up a Pashudhan Vikas Mission at the national level, Hooda said it would enable farmers to choose an alternative as land holdings were becoming smaller. He also suggested launching a national programme to assist 'gaushalas'. The CM thanked JK Group chairman Vijaypat Singhania for the programme to improve cattle breed.
Endorsing Pawar's views on increasing the MSP of agricultural produce, Hooda said a group of chief ministers had been constituted under his chairmanship with the aim of increasing agricultural production and stabilising farmers' income. The group's recommendations have been submitted to the Prime Minister, he added.