THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wants the Union to consult states before trade treaties. He was speaking after inaugurating a national workshop on International Agricultural Trade and Free Trade Agreements' organised by the agriculture department, State Agricultural Prices Board and the WTO Cell. He also demanded parliamentary ratification before implementing such agreements.
“Agriculture is the backbone of the state’s economy," he said. "Hence the Centre should consult the states that are likely to be affected." He said it's the states that are at the receiving end of its highhandedness. He also accused the Union government of lifting all import barriers to promote exports at the cost of states. “We should realise that only the big farmers and corporate farming concerns will benefit from such policies," he said. "We have conveyed our stand to the Union government on its agricultural export policy.” Suresh Pal, director, National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research-ICAR, New Delhi, stressed the importance of technology and institutional innovations.
"The time has also come to give serious thought to how to enhance the income of farmers," he said. “Development of the agribusiness sector also should be given sufficient focus." The value of agricultural exports in 2016 stood at Rs 2,15,400 crore, he said, and at the current rate of growth of 2.43 per cent, it could rise to Rs 3,01,500 crore by 2030. Union commerce minister Suresh Prabhu, in a video message, said the Centre had decided to promote agriculture exports. Agriculture minister V. S. Sunil Kumar presided over the inaugural function.