AHMEDABAD: On his first visit to Amreli after becoming the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi exhorted the farmers to adopt modern agricultural techniques, including solar pumps as well as explore timber cultivation and honeybee farming to supplement their income.
"This is the beginning of a madhu kranti (sweet revolution). I urge farmers to take up honeybee farming. This can be done very easily in the fields and if marketed properly , you can earn substanti ally. Wherever there is a dairy network, honey farming can be taken up and thus usher in sweet revolu tion," Modi said at a Sahakar Sammelan after inaugurating several projects in the town. It is nearly after 25 years that a PM has visited Amreli and Modi's visit has assumed significance in the election year as the district has been a hotbed of Patidar and dalit agitations. BJP had suffered severe electoral reverses in the wake of Patidar quota agitation in 2015 and lost the district panchayat to the Congress. Also, BJP rules just one taluka panchayat of the total 11.
Alternating between Gujarati and Hindi, Modi suggested farmers to explore the possibility of growing timber on the fringes of their farms instead of putting up fences which renders at least 2-3 metre wide land useless. Modi said that the central government is planning to bring a law by which farmers won't need the forest department's permission to chop and sell timber grown on the fringes of fields.
"Our dream is to double farmers' income by 2022. For this, we will have to adopt modern agriculture techniques. The use of solar pumps to draw water can help curb huge electricity and water bills. This coupled with drip irrigation using Narmada water and honeybee farming can substantially change farmers' lives," he said.
As he listed the central government schemes on value addition to the farm produces, Modi even called upon the women to actively participate in animal husbandry and said that they should be trained in giving proper diet to their milch cattle to increase milch cattle to increase per animal milk yield.
"Our per animal milk yield is less compared to global standards as we still depend on the traditional food for cattle. We have to adopt newer diets so that farmers can get double amount of milk without having to buy more animals and incur additional costs," he said.