PUNE: Making agriculture sustainable and profitable should top the agenda of both central and state governments as food security is the key foundation of national security, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said here today.
He was speaking at the concluding session of the two-day National Consultation on Agriculture at Vaikunth Mehta National Cooperative Institute of Management here.
"Farmers have contributed immensely in transforming our nation into an exporter of food grains and we owe a lot to them," he said. Food security is central to national security and farmers are continuously ensuring it," he said.
"That is why our nation salutes farmers and says Jai Kisan!", he added.
"While farmers are ensuring food security, our armed forces guarding our country are ensuring national security. They have demonstrated highest standards of professional excellence and are among the best in the world, Naidu said.
The nation also owes a great deal to scientists who are extending the frontiers of knowledge and contributing to India's development, Naidu said.
"Disrespecting or neglecting or ignoring these three pillars is not in the interest of the nation," he said.
A multi-pronged strategy needs to be adopted to make agriculture viable and ensure that interests of farmers are protected, he said.
Expressing his concern that the system was in favour of the articulate and organised urban sector, Naidu said the time has come for a sharper focus on rural, agrarian population and a positive bias towards farmers.
Interests of both farmers and consumers need to be balanced, he added.
"One of the new challenges in the agricultural sector is the problem of plenty. We have become self-sufficient in food grains.
However, this has not translated into higher income for farmers. Unless agriculture is made profitable, we cannot attract more people, especially youth, to take up farming," Naidu said.