Panaji:Announcing a new scheme to encourage exports of agriculture produce from the state, Vijai Sardesai, Agriculture Minister, on Tuesday, urged the Goan farmers to take advantage of the scheme and get into the lucrative activity of exports.
The Promotion of Export Quality Vegetable Scheme will have a mechanism to take care of the labour cost since high labour cost is a major hurdle in the cultivation, said the Agriculture Minister.
Sardesai was speaking at the valedictory session of a two-day workshop on ‘Exports of vegetables by Goan farmers,’ conducted by the Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, together with the Department of Agriculture and Bank of India, at Menezes Braganza hall in the city.
He further said that the government is mulling over giving job cards to agricultural labourers under the MNREGA Scheme and also trying to enact contract farming law to bring 13,000 hectares of fallow land in the state under cultivation and increase the output.
“Goa has brand equity internationally, and it is essential that benefits of the equity should go to Goan youth,” he said, urging the farmers to go in for exports of vegetables and fruits in the international market.
Sardesai, who visited a farmers’ market recently during a trip to Prague, Czechoslovakia, said that Goan vegetables are far superior in taste compared to the vegetables supplied by Vietnam, which has made a name for itself in the international market.
Ruing the lack of interest among the youth towards agriculture, he pointed out that the state has the maximum number of agriculture schemes aimed at making farming attractive.
Pravin Zantye, chairman of Goa State Horticulture Corporation (GSHC); Pallavi Dempo, trustee of Dempo Charities Trust; Nelson Figueiredo, director of agriculture; Madhav Kerkar, managing director of GSHC, and Vrinda Borkar were the key speakers at the valedictory session.
Pointing out the advantages of exports, Zantye said that organic branding and mechanisation are essential for agriculture, and Goan farmers must strive to achieve it.
Dempo pointed out the huge opportunities in exports of vegetables and fruits for the local farmers.
She added that unfortunately agriculture is not receiving the attention it deserves.
The workshop was organised to motivate college students to get into future agriculture. A farmer Sadanand Jaidev Naik from Bicholim shared his experience at the workshop while four farmers from neighboring state of Maharashtra were felicitated for their success in exports of vegetables and fruits.
The workshop had separate sessions on key areas affecting the exports such as pest management, economics of production for exports, inspection certificates, schemes of APEDA, etc. [NT]