Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has come up with several suggestions to not only make agriculture a profitable venture but also encourage people to go in for a nutritious, balanced and healthy diet.

The Chief Minister’s suggestions and observations came at the end of a three-day extended conference with Agriculture Department officials and subject experts at Pragathi Bhavan on Wednesday on the strategies to be adopted for regulated cultivation of crops to be implemented in the State from the coming Vaanakalam season.

Instructing the agriculture officials to constantly monitor the market conditions and chalk out strategies to ensure that farmers inculcate the habit of cultivating crops that are in demand in the market, Chandrashekhar Rao said the government would appoint an Agriculture Products Marketing Committee and an Agriculture Research Committee.

Stating that the government would also establish a Cotton Research and Development Centre to support cotton growers, he sought to revamp the Horticulture Department in tune with the changing times and create a separate Statistics Wing to compile data on crops.

The Agriculture Products Marketing Committee, comprising experts and specialists in the field, would study the demand for agriculture products worldwide, marketing, pricing and other related issues, besides recommending the crop cultivation pattern. “Farmers should take up cultivation based on the suggestions of the committee,” the Chief Minister said.

Officials should work out the eating habits of people not only in the State but also in the country to facilitate identification of the market demands in different areas, he said, adding that crop cultivation should be based on the data compiled through this exercise.

The Agriculture Research Committee would study and recommend cultivation methods to optimise crop yield. “There is a need to increase yield in the agriculture sector. There are several changes in the cultivation methods. There should be a scientific basis for use of fertilizers and pesticides,” Chandrashekhar Rao said and emphasised the need to augment mechanisation in the sector. “Cultivation methods should be taken up as recommended by this committee,” he said.

The Chief Minister pointed out that while food security had been achieved in the country, there was not much progress in ensuring nutritious food consumption by people. “They are eating whatever they want, which is mostly lacking in nutritional values and proteins. People should be encouraged to go for diets that are rich in vitamins and proteins, and crops should be cultivated keeping this in mind. This would result in the improved immune system to fight diseases which would ultimately lead to longevity,” he said.

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