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Gandhinagar, Friday: Even as the 7th ‘Krishi Mahotsav' is launched today, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi said the agricultural revolution of sorts has brought 13-lakh hectare of additional land under farming alongside establishing the state as Number One in systematic and scientific development of the farm sector, too, over this period.

Inaugurating the month-long statewide mahotsav at Akodara near Himatnagar in Sabarkantha district, Mr. Modi said the annual event to apprise the farmers about the latest developments in farming, irrigation, land fertility, cropping pattern and cattle rearing at their doorsteps is being celebrated as a mahotsav or festival.

Nearly one lakh government officers, employees and agricultural scientists accompany ‘krish raths' to cover all the 18,000 villages in 225 talukas in the scorching sun during the month. The festival held in cooperation with the farmers begins on the auspicious planetary confluence of ‘Akshay Tritiya' every year. This year, he said, it assumes special significance it being the state's golden jubilee year.

The Chief Minister dedicated the country's first-of-its-kind Animal Hostel, equipped with modern gadgets and management system, at Akodara.

He said the makeover in the agricultural sector began with water management, making nearly 13-lakh ha of barren land fit for farming. With the completion of Narmada Canal Project and Sujalam Sufalam Yojna, he hopes to raise the farmland by 20-lakh ha. Farmers are now taking three crops where they used to depend on the vagaries of the monsoon.

He said the State Government has accorded top priority to drinking water and water for innovative methods like sprinkler and drip irrigation, which not only saves wastage of water but also reduces soil erosion. He said that Gujarat is the only state which has given unique soil health cards to farmers to plan ahead which crop to grow in which soil condition. He congratulated the Khedbrahma APMC for its role in facilitating the use of 1,000 drip irrigation kits.

Mr. Modi exhorted the farmers to adopt more technology and value addition of agricultural produce to supplement their income. The developed nations earn fortunes by value addition of crops like castor, banana, cotton, tomato, potato and mango, exporting the value-added products to markets around the world. He said that MoUs for projects worth Rs.37,000-crore for agricultural value-addition were signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit. He wished that agriculture attains the status of an industry.

Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture Minister Dileepbhai Sanghani said the state has attained 10 per cent growth in agricultural production, courtesy krishi mahotsavs.

Education Minister Ramanlal Vora said over 8,000 check dams, 610 farm ponds have been built in the district. The Rs.550-crore Vatrak-Majum-Meshwo project is on the cards.

District Guardian Minister Jashwantsinh Bhabhor said Sabarkantha could now boast of having the country's first Animal Hostel, Kandhenu University, as it also supplies the needs of almost the entire country's cotton seeds and stands Number Three in Dairy Plant.

Minister of State for Education Jaysinh Chauhan also spoke at the inaugural function, attended by Ministers of State Pradeepsinh Jadeja, Prafulbhai Patelm Purushottam Patel, MPs and MLAs of the region, Chief Secretary A.K. Joti, Principal Secretary (Agriculture) R.K. Tripathi, Gopalak Vikas Board Chairman Sanjay Desai, among others.

Gujarat Information Bureau

 
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