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Centre assures additional help to Cyclone Fani-hit farmers of Odisha

twitter-logoPTI | September 2, 2019 | Updated 23:51 IST

Bhubaneswar, Sep 2 (PTI) Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday assured additional assistance to Odisha's Cyclone Fani-hit farmers, mainly coconut growers, apart from the support announced earlier in order to mitigate their plight. The additional assistance will be provided apart from the support of Rs 29.659 crore given by the Coconut Development Board (CDB) to farmers of Odisha who were severely hit by Cyclone Fani of May 3, Tomar said. The Union minister also said the Centre plans to double the number of coconut-based industries in the country by 2022 by extending necessary support and asked educated farmers to come up with start-ups. Addressing a function marking the 21st World Coconut Day observed by CDB here, Tomar said the Centre is taking steps to open 10,000 farmer-producer organisations (FPOs) across the country. "We are pretty aware about the plight of the coconut farmers in Odisha. We are eager to extend more help to them. The state government should follow the due process so that we can grant more funds by CDB and the Union agriculture ministry," Tomar said. Highlighting the importance of coconut farming in the agricultural sector, he said more than one crore farmers of the country are engaged in coconut farming and it comprises the 33 per cent total coconut farming in the world. "The government is committed to empower the agriculture sector in the country to add to the GDP. In order to achieve this, coconut farming needs more attention," Tomar said. Emphasising that more value addition of coconut could be done and it needs to be augmented, he also harped on the proper marketing facilities to commercialise the farming. "The government of India has decided to open 10,000 FPOs across the country. CDB is also playing a great role for skill development of the farmers," the minister said. Noting that 484 coconut-based industries have been set up so far across the country with the support of the government, Tomar said "We are on a mission to double it till 2022. We want more and more educated farmers to come with start-ups and grow in the country." Asserting that the government is committed to achieve a USD 5 trillion economy, he said for that the income of the farmers needs to be doubled. Besides substantially hiking of the minimum support price (MSP), the Centre is also giving Rs 6,000 assistance to every farmer of the country under the PM Kisan Yojana and "we will want more farmers of the state to get the benefit," Tomar said. The minister, while speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the function, also urged the Odisha government to submit the complete list of farmers to the Centre for the PM Kisan Yojana soon to ensure its benefits reach all those eligible for the scheme in the state. Around 500 farmers from all coconut growing states across the country and coconut-based entrepreneurs participated in the programme. The technical session attended by specialists focused on creating awareness on goodness of coconut and sought steps to equip farmers with latest scientific practices of coconut management, processing, value addition and export. An exhibition showcasing various innovative value added products of coconut and technologies in the coconut sector was also held. Odisha's Agriculture Minister Arun Kumar Sahoo and CDB Chairperson V Usha Rani were present at the function. PTI SKN AQS ANB ANB

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