Bengaluru: Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje on Friday said Karnataka is lagging behind in exporting agricultural produce and steps need to be taken to give priority to it.
She also asked the state to set up a separate cell for agriculture exports.
"We have to grow more crops and give priority to exports also. I have spoken to Murugesh Nirani (Karnataka Industries Minister), Karnataka is lagging behind in exporting agriculture produce, other states are ahead of us. Only things that get exported from here are coffee, pepper and more recently rose onion," Karandlaje said.
Speaking to reporters here, she said exports from the state were very less, it has to be given priority, also fruits and vegetables that were getting exported from Kolar region, has not been up to the mark in recent times.
"In all the states, the Industries Department is in-charge of exports. They largely look into machinery and IT&BT sector, and agriculture related exports are not getting attention," she said, adding that she has requested for a separate cell for agriculture exports in the state industries department so that it will be linked to Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
The Minister who had taken part in the Jan Ashirwad Yatra in various parts of the state, is in the city for the first time after becoming the Union Minister.
Highlighting that the Prime Minister's intention is to double the farmers income, Karandlaje said, he had set a target for it, but because of Corona for two years, it has been affected. However, in the days to come to improve the economic standards of farmers, the centre is taking several initiatives and is investing in it.
Noting that India is not self-reliant in edible oil, she said, "70 per cent of edible oil is imported from foreign countries. Palm oil from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, it is blended with groundnut or sunflower oil here and packaged, which is not good for health and also a big amount of foreign exchange is being spent on it.
Despite having such a big agriculture area we have not been able to produce edible oil in a large quantity., she said, adding the PM has now set a target to become self-reliant in edible oil production in a couple of years, so we are encouraging farmers by distributing oil seeds mini kits to farmers.
Pointing out that India has a large dry land and is majorly dependent on rain fed agriculture, the Minister said, Millets can be grown in such a condition, and the government is giving stress for it.
"In the next two years we will give priority to growing millets.....It is good for health and we should also export it," she said, adding that the government is doing such experiments across the country and is investing in agriculture and horticulture.
Crediting the Modi government for increasing budgetary allocation for the agriculture sector, also record production of food grains, fruits and vegetables, Karandlaje said, the centre has taken several initiatives to improve agriculture sector.
The Prime Minister has set a target for setting up 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO), she said, our aim is to have at least one FPO in a block, also Rs 1 lakh crore has been kept under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund.
Karandlaje said the current union council of ministers is "special" and the opposition is unable to digest it, as Narendra Modi has done what they were unable to do during their tenure.
"The Modi Ministry has 27 Ministers from the OBC community, for the first time in the country's history there are eleven women Ministers. Backward Classes, women, SCs, STs, Minorities- like this people belonging to all sections were identified and were given an opportunity," she said.
Opportunity has also been given to young blood and people belonging to various regions of every state, she said adding that "opposition, the Congress is unable to digest it. So they behaved badly in the temple of democracy- the Lok Sabha. Without any reason they staged a protest and did not allow the parliament to function.