12 Jun 2024

Why Shivraj Singh Chouhan is PM Modi's choice for Agriculture Minister? What are expectations from him?

Shivraj Singh Chouhan, during his tenure as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, was widely recognized for his focus on agriculture and rural development, crucial sectors in a state where nearly 70% of the population depends on farming. His efforts were aimed at supporting farmers and boosting agricultural growth in the state.

With his extensive experience in governance and strong rapport with rural communities, Shivraj's appointment as the Union Agriculture Minister is poised to inject fresh vigor into the government's endeavors to tackle the myriad challenges confronting the agriculture sector and farming communities.

Shivraj implemented various initiatives to support farmers

Shivraj implemented various initiatives to support farmers, such as providing bonuses above the minimum support price (MSP) set by the central government, offering low-interest short-term crop loans, and establishing a robust infrastructure for wheat procurement. These measures contributed to high agricultural growth rates in the state, with a peak of 20.4% in 2013-14, surpassing the national average.

Bonus for wheat producers

One of Shivraj's notable steps was introducing a bonus of Rs 100 per quintal for wheat producers selling to the government, which proved highly successful in incentivizing farmers to sell to government procurement centers. This scheme not only benefited local farmers but also attracted producers from neighboring states, leading to increased production and procurement in Madhya Pradesh.

MP witnessed improvements in foodgrain production

Under Chouhan's leadership, Madhya Pradesh witnessed improvements in foodgrain production, facilitated by enhanced irrigation networks enabling farmers to cultivate multiple crops. The state's procurement levels rose significantly, positioning it alongside traditional agricultural powerhouses like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.

Championed the cultivation of basmati rice 

Chouhan also championed the cultivation of basmati rice on a large scale in Madhya Pradesh, although the state faced challenges in obtaining geographical indication (GI) recognition for its aromatic paddy variety. Despite setbacks, efforts to secure GI status continued, reflecting the state's commitment to promoting its unique agricultural products.

Strong emphasis on farm development and support for farmers

In response to farmer protests over falling commodity prices in 2017, Chouhan faced challenges as demonstrations turned violent in some instances, leading to unfortunate casualties. However, he emphasized the significant financial assistance provided to farmers through various schemes like the Chief Minister Krishak Samridhi Yojana, cash incentives above MSP, drought relief, and crop insurance, aiming to address farmers' grievances and strengthen their ties with the BJP.

Overall, Shivraj Singh Chouhan's tenure as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh was marked by a strong emphasis on agricultural development and support for farmers. His initiatives and policies aimed to enhance agricultural productivity, ensure fair returns for farmers, and address challenges faced by the agricultural community in the state.

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