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New Delhi  : The Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu on September 22, 2019, stressed the need to introduce structural reforms to make agriculture profitable and sustainable. Presenting Rythu Nestham Awards on the occasion of the 15th Anniversary of the publication of Rythu Nestham and two other journals Pasu Nestam and Prakruti Nestam at a function held at Swarna Bharat Trust, Hyderabad, he urged the Union Government and various State Governments to accord highest priority to agriculture, education, and healthcare sectors.

With 60 per cent of the population dependent on agriculture, Naidu said the foremost priority must be accorded to promoting agriculture and making it viable and remunerative. Observing that there was a need for agricultural renaissance in the country, he said that there should be more focus on ensuring insurance, irrigation, and infrastructure development, apart from providing timely credit to farmers.

Pointing out that the Indian farmer was doing a pious duty of feeding millions of people, Naidu said that the agriculture producer was getting less, while the trader was getting more. The government and the NITI Aayog should look into this aspect and make structural changes so that the farmer gets his due.

The Vice President also emphasised the need for diversification in agriculture and promotion of allied sectors like horticulture, poultry, pisciculture, aquaculture and sericulture to augment the income of the farmers.  Food processing is one area which has immense potential and needs to be fully tapped, he added.

Urging scientists to find ways for reducing the input costs for agriculture, Naidu also called for revamping the curriculum of agricultural courses to ensure that students spend 50 per cent of their study time interacting with farmers in the fields. Spending time with the farmer in the field would be a huge learning experience for the students, he added, according to a PIB release.

The Vice President also cautioned people against the growing incidence of lifestyle diseases and said that it was important to adopt healthy dietary practices. Governor of Telangana Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, Chairman of Andhra Pradesh Official Language Commission Yarlagadda Lakshmiprasad and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

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