Bhubaneswar, March 4  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said the outlay of agriculture budget would be enhanced with a special focus to increase the area under irrigation and reduce farmers’ vulnerabilities to natural calamities.

It was decided in the first meeting of Agriculture Cabinet Committee chaired by the chief minister to fast-track the policy and decision-making process for agriculture and allied sectors.

“The focus area of the agriculture budget will be to increase the area under irrigation and reduce the gap between the irrigation potential available in the state and the actual area brought under irrigation so far,” said Patnaik.

He said the budget will also focus on reducing farmers’ vulnerabilities to natural calamities, provision of credit and agriculture inputs in time, improving agriculture production and productivity by laying emphasis on modern farm technologies and development of fisheries and animal husbandry sector.

Emphasis will also be given on marketing of agriculture produce and creation of storage and warehousing facilities for better post-harvest management of agriculture produce, he added.

He said the committee has directed the concerned departments to enhance the outlay of the agriculture budget, the details of which will be made available at the time of presentation of the agriculture budget.

He said the departments have also been directed to bring about convergence in their activities, programmes and schemes.

“My government is committed to ensure that farm household incomes are substantially enhanced through these initiatives,” said the chief minister