New India, the country’s largest agri-business body, has announced a new $2 million project to create an “environmental reserve” in the country to sustain its farmers, in what may be the first such attempt by an Indian state.
The project will be headed by state minister of state for agriculture Prakash Javadekar and the state’s Environment and Forest department, sources said.
“This project will create an environmental reserve to sustain the agricultural sector in the state and in the neighbouring states,” Javadeker told reporters here.
“The purpose of the project is to create a fertile soil in the area,” he added.
He also said the project will take place within the framework of the existing Agri-Food Security Act.
“It will also be a natural habitat for the indigenous community,” Javadkar said.
“This project is a step in the right direction to create healthy, fertile soils for the agricultural community in the State of Gujarat.”
In the future, the government will be more active in creating the soil of Gujarat,” he said.
He said the new project is not just an initiative but a plan to ensure that farmers have access to an adequate food supply in the future.
Javadekar said the state government had already given an order to create the land for the project and the land will be set aside for the development of the area.
The environment ministry had already allocated Rs 500 crore for the “Fertile Land Reserve” project.
It had earlier announced Rs 2.7 lakh crore for an “Agri-Bharat Mission” to promote agriculture in the Northeast.
The state’s agricultural sector accounts for about 14% of the state gross domestic product (GDP) but farmers’ incomes are low.
It is estimated that there are around 14.5 million farmers in Gujarat who are currently dependent on agricultural inputs and about 12.3 million of them have not been able to get the needed financial support.