He also said that food processing has immense potential for generating employment in rural areas, particularly for the landless poor, besides guaranteeing remunerative price for the farm-produce.
     
Delivering his address to the joint sitting of Parliament as the Budget Session commenced, he said: "My government attaches enormous importance to the well-being of farmers. This will need value-added agriculture, market reform, use of technology and improving productivity in areas with untapped potential.”
     
"Kisan (farmer) is the sentinel of our food security. Annadaata Sukhibhava has been one of our fundamental civilisational values," he added.
     
Highlighting measures being taken to boost farm economy, the President said the 'Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana' is being launched to address the irrigation requirements of every village in an effective and sustainable manner.
     
In view of the critical role of soil for productivity and farm output, he said that the government has launched a Soil Health Card Scheme.
     
Under the scheme, the Centre plans to target over 14 crore farmers in the next three years to check the excess use of fertilisers.
     
To protect farmers and consumers from price volatility, the government has set up a Price stabilisation fund with a corpus of Rs 500 crore for perishable commodities, he said.
     
That apart, the Rashtriya Gokul Mission has been launched with the objective of conserving and developing indigenous cattle breeds.
     
Extension programmes have been devised targeting resource -poor, small and marginal farmers, particularly focusing on organic farming and green house technology, he added.
    
Stressing on the need to boost food processing sector, the President said: "Food Processing has immense potential for generating employment in rural areas, particularly for the landless poor, besides guaranteeing remunerative price for the farm-produce."
     
In last six months, the government has commissioned two Mega Food Parks, at Tumkur and Fazilka, each to provide direct and indirect employment to 30,000 people.
     
As the government's priority is to create infrastructure in rural areas to minimise supply chain losses, a special fund of Rs 2000 crore to provide affordable credit to the units in 72 notified food parks has been made operational, he added.

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