Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the agro-marine processing scheme SAMPADA to promote food processing and promised to make the North-East the economic hub of "new India".
"There are immense possibilities for agro-product valuation and the Rs 6,000-crore SAMPADA (Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing) will go a long way in developing the food processing industry and creating employment opportunities for the youth", he said after laying the foundation stone of the Indian Agriculture Research Institute here in the Dhemaji district.
Modi, who kickstarted the celebration of 3 years of his government, said: "Initially, there will be investment of Rs 6,000 crore and later, we will go in for public-private partnership which will include foreign direct investment."
The central government will work "shoulder to shoulder" with the state government to usher in development, he promised.
Modi urged the youth of the North-East to take advantage of this scheme, saying the region will be the "new engine for new India and the term NE will mean new economy, new energy and new empowerment".
This will be achieved by following the 'pancha path' (five paths) with "the focus being on infrastructure development like highway, railway, waterway, airway and I(information)-way".
He expressed hope that the North-East can emerge as a global hub of organic farming as there are huge possibilities in the region.
"Sikkim has already shown the way by becoming an organic state and if the seven other north-eastern states also follow in that direction, the region will become a global organic hub as there is huge market potential in this area," the prime minister said.
Modi talked about his government's aim to double agricultural income of farmers in the country and change the destiny of rural economy by giving thrust to the agricultural sector.
"I have a dream to double the income of farmers by 2022 when the nation completes 75 years of independence and we have five years to achieve this," he said, stressing on the need to modernise the agriculture sector with the help of science and technology.
"We have to march ahead and we are not talking about a second Green Revolution, but Sada kal harit kal - Green Revolution always and for this, we are committed to modernise agriculture sector by adopting a holistic approach," he said.
The country, according to the prime minister, is blessed with the advantage of varied seasons, diversity of land and agriculture methods. "Scientists of a particular region must conduct research and prepare a model taking into consideration the special features of the land," he suggested.
There should be a seamless chain from seeds to market without any hitch along the way, Modi added.
In the last three years, more than 9,000 soil health card labs were set up across the country and there are plans to set up more as these have helped farmers understand the strength, weaknesses and fertiliser requirement of the soil.
Terming providing water for irrigation as a major thrust area of the BJP government, Modi said Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana is a major step in this direction, which has helped farmers considerably.
The Fasal Bima Yojana has also come as "a big relief for farmers as they feel secure against all adversities" and will be soon implemented across the country.
He called upon the farmers to reduce expenses by installing solar panels in their farms to bring down electricity cost.
They could also take steps to increase their income by planting trees to get timber, besides opting for scientific milk production, pisciculture and poultry farming, Modi added.