Hyderabad: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday underscored the need to introduce structural reforms to make agriculture profitable and sustainable.

After presenting the "Rythu Nestham" awards at a function near here, Naidu urged the central and state governments to accord the highest priority to agriculture, education and healthcare sectors.

"With 60 per cent of the population dependent on agriculture, the foremost priority must be accorded to promoting agriculture and making it viable and remunerative," he said.

Noting that the Indian farmer was doing a pious duty of feeding millions, Naidu said the farm producer was getting less, while the trader was getting more.

"Why are the consumers paying a high price and why the producers are getting less price?

That is a big question to be answered by the system, by the political parties, by the governments at the Centre and the state..," he said.

The Vice President wanted the government and NITI Aayog to look into this aspect and make structural changes so that the farmer gets his due.

"Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and without it the country will face challenges and mankind will face food security-related problems also," he pointed out.

Observing that there was a need for agricultural renaissance in the country, he said there should be more focus on ensuring insurance, irrigation, and infrastructure development, apart from providing timely credit to farmers.

The Vice President also emphasised the importance of diversification in agriculture and promotion of allied sectors like horticulture, poultry, pisciculture, aquaculture, and sericulture to augment the farmers' income.

Food processing was one area which has immense potential and needs to be fully tapped, he said adding the Centre has created a ministry for that purpose, but there is every need to take it up at an intensive level.

The Vice President also urged scientists to find ways to reduce the input costs for agriculture and called for revamping the curriculum of agricultural courses to ensure that students spend 50 per cent of their study time by interacting with farmers in the fields.

Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan also spoke on the occasion. PTI

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