Hyderabad: Comprehensive development of agriculture, ensuring minimum support prices or better than MSP returns to farmers in the State will require an integrated approach to agriculture which needs a revamp of the official machinery and bringing under the umbrella of Agriculture Department various other departments like Horticulture, Marketing, Civil Supplies, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao said. He also said the plan for crop colonies in Telangana should not just be about food consumption patterns and localised availability of different foods but also be based on soil types that suit each crop..
For instance, cotton should be grown only in soil that suits it so that the produce is better. Officials should also study improved cotton production methods and types nationally and internationally. Officials should tour paddy growing areas including Punjab and educate our farmers on better production methods. Paddy which has less calories and less sugar content should be preferred and farmers should be educated on growing high yielding paddy varieties. There is also a heavy demand for maize and this requires development of improved seed varieties, he said. On integrating other programmes into agriculture production, the Chief Minister cited the case of demand for tamarind, which he said, requires increased production. As growing of tamarind trees needs encouragement, as part of Haritha Haram programme, at least five 5 crore tamarind saplings should be supplied to farmers free of cost. Self-help women groups can be entrusted with the responsibility of the likes of manufacturing turmeric and mirchi powder as well as pure groundnut, and sesame oil. While this will ensure good returns to farmers, women too will get employment and the consumer will no longer face the problem of buying spurious or poor quality items, the he said. The Chief Minister also called for increasing the growing of leafy vegetables and fruits in the State instead of relying on importing them from other States. We should overcome this. Telangana has 142 municipalities and urban population is nearly half of the State’s population. The vegetable requirement of urban population can be met if they are grown in villages around the towns, but this is not the case anymore. There was a time when vegetables grown in villages were taken to towns and sold there. But these days, villages are importing vegetables from towns which are getting these from other states. “This situation needs to change. Vegetables, fruits and other food items we consume should necessarily be grown by us only. Even a single quintal of rice should not be imported from other States. We should be in position to export rice to other places. Lessons should be learnt from Ankapur where farmers grow crops only after finding out the market potential for the crops they plan to raise within and outside the State,” he said. “The government should also create an understanding among people with regard to healthy food habits. We should encourage consumption of healthy food products. Usage of leafy curries and fruits should be encouraged. Doctors are of the opinion that the ‘Telangana Sonalu Rice’ is better in regulating and preventing diabetics. Such food products are to be encouraged,” the Chief Minister said. Chandrashekhar Rao addressed a high-level meeting at Pragathi Bhavan on evolving a strategy for provision of MSP that was attended among others by Ministers Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Allola Indrakaran Reddy, Government Chief Advisor Rajiv Sharma, Chief Secretary SK Joshi, MP Vinod Kumar, MLA Sandravenkata Veeraiah, Prinicpal Secretary for Agriculture Parthasarathy, Senior officers Rahul Bojja, Smita Sabarwal, Pausami Basu, Horticulture Commissioner Venkatrami Reddy, Marketing Director Laxmi Bhai, Agriculture University VC Praveen Rao and others..