Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said that government has drawn up a scheme to ensure power supply to the agriculture sector for 12 hours a day through feeder-based solar energy.
So far, 10,000 solar agricultural pumps have been set up across the state, he said, adding 16 renowned companies dealing in these instruments from across the world have approached the government to facilitate their installation.
He was addressing a gathering of farmers, agriculture scientists and representatives of allied business groups after inaugurating the 8th edition of "Agro Vision" at the sprawling Reshimbagh Ground in Nagpur.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, chief promoter of the annual farm fair, presided over the function.
Giving statistics, Fadnavis said 94,303 pumps were cleared for installation in the last two years in Vidarbha followed by Marathwada (66,790), Western Maharashtra (48,000) and North Maharashtra (18,000).
Under the scheme, farmers can use feeder-based solar pumps instead of individually buying pumps.
Fadnavis called on farmers to reduce input cost and enhance production and said agriculture is now treated as a part of science and scientific farming is need of the hour.
Productivity must be increased to make agriculture sustainable, he said.
The government has decided to set up integrated textile units in 11 cotton-producing districts as part of its 'cotton to fashion' push, the Chief Minister said.
Recalling the twin occurrences of drought and excess rainfall in the past, Fadnavis said due to various initiatives like 'Jalyukt Shivar' (a water conservation scheme), farmers have succeeded in minimising the impact of scarcity.
The situation on the agriculture front is improving since the last two years when the sector recorded a negative growth of 16 per cent (2014-15). This year, the Government is hopeful of achieving positive growth of 5 to 10 per cent, he said.