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By 2020, 22,000 rural agriculture markets to be linked

Union Minister of State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said 22,000 rural agriculture markets will be linked to make a national agricultural market by 2020.

"We will upgrade existing 22,000 rural 'haats' into Gramin Agricultural Markets. These will be connected with e-National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) to provide farmers facility to make direct sale to potential buyers," said Shekhawat at AgriVikas 2018 here.

He said all 585 e-mandis have been connected under the agricultural market reforms.

The minister also said entrepreurship has to be developed in the agriculture sector and added India has the potential to meet the demand of food industry in the world.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said technology and innovation can be a real game-changer for the agriculture sector in Odisha.

"Farmers and farming in Odisha are constrained by outdated labour intensive techniques due to lack of skill development as a result of which the state's agrarian economy has lagged far behind it's true potential and is always grappling with challenges," said the Minister.

It is with this belief that AgriVikas2018 aims to contribute a small step in the long journey of scripting a new story for Odisha's agriculture, he added.

Union MSME Minister Giriraj Singh said women workforce has to be increased for the growth of the country.

"There has been a rise in production of many agricultural products in Odisha but farmers here still depend on other states for other essential goods. It has come as a challenge for Odisha to attract market for the surplus produced goods," said Singh.

Saying that turmeric has medicinal value and "can help cure cancer", he said Odisha's Kandhamal district's turmeric can be exported to the international market which would largely benefit the farmers and boost the economy.

"But the careless government in Odisha ruined farmers' income and prosperity," he added.

The Minister said if Odisha's agriculture produce is supplied to regional, national and international markets, it would create opportunities for farmers and would boost Odisha's economy.