New Delhi: The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu has called for a renewed focus on agribusiness, value addition and diversification of agriculture to make farming much more sustainable, profitable and rewarding. He was addressing the gathering at the Convocation of Vaikunth Mehta National Institute for Cooperative Management, a premier cooperative management institute focusing on Agri-Business Management in Pune, Maharashtra. He also awarded medals to 3 achievers and presented Post Graduate Diplomas to 51 graduating students.
The Vice President applauded the vision of inclusive and sustainable growth that VAMNICOM, an institution named after Vaikunth Bhai Mehta the Minister of Finance and Cooperation of the then Bombay State and the first Chairman of Khadi and Village Industries Commission. He termed the contributions of Mehta as ‘foundational to cooperative sector in India’.
Naidu opined that Cooperative societies that are built on values that encourage cooperation, empowerment, and solidarity, rather than just profits, play a crucial role in strengthening rural economy and in ensuring socio-economic development for inclusive growth and sustainable development. He said that the cooperative sector has a big role to play in bridging the urban-rural divide and creating opportunities for income generation at grass-roots level.
The Vice President said that Cooperatives can help the small and marginal farmers who are in need of support in the form of inputs, harvesting, storage facilities, distribution channels and a network of the market information system. ‘They can help in mitigating rural distress by providing support facilities for farmers to ensure sustainability’, he added.
Naidu spoke about the need to restructure our agricultural markets by removing middlemen and intermediaries, thereby helping farmers to directly interact with the consumers. He cited the national agricultural market, e-Nam as initiative that would greatly help farmers in this endeavour and said that e-Nam.
The Governor of Maharashtra, C. Vidyasagar Rao, the Secretary, Dept. of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Sanjay Agarwal, the Addl. Secretary, Dept. of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Vasudha Mishra, the Director, Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management, Dr. K.K. Tripathy and others were present on the occasion.