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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 14, 2007
States need to bridge the crop yield gap to reduce rural sector distress: Manmohan Singh
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States need to bridge the crop yield gap to reduce rural sector distress: Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Siongh said on Monday that States need to bridge gap between yields actually achieved at the farm level, and the yields that are feasible given the agro-climatic constraints and the existing technology to make the agricultural sector achieve its true potential.

New Delhi, May 14 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Siongh said on Monday that States need to bridge gap between yields actually achieved at the farm level, and the yields that are feasible given the agro-climatic constraints and the existing technology to make the agricultural sector achieve its true potential.

Addressing a full meeting of the Planning Commission, the second in eight months, Dr. Singh said: "Some of what needs to be done rests with the Central Government, but much of it must be done by the States."

"We know that there are substantial yield gaps in all States - between yields actually achieved at the farm level, and the yields that are feasible given the agro-climatic constraints and the existing technology. These yield increase potentials vary from 40 percent to 100percent. Increased production in the next three or four years can only come from bridging this yield gap or expanding area," he added.

"As the scope for area expansion is extremely limited except for what can be done through increased cropping intensity via irrigation. Hence, the need to focus on yield gap reduction," he said.

Recalling that his Government had made a committment to reverse the prolonged slowdown in agriculture, and to reduce the growing rural-urban imbalance, Dr. Singh said: "We were ambitious in setting a growth rate of 10 percent for the economy. We were also aware of the areas of concern. There were concerns regarding the levels of poverty, concerns regarding the poor performance of agriculture, concerns regarding the need to generate employment and the persisting regional disparities. In many ways, these problems are inter-related and if we are able to improve the growth rate of agriculture, we would be mitigating the other problems to some extent."

He said that his Government had already taken a number of initiatives to deal with the problem of raising agricultural GDP output from a meagre two percent, and these included dealing with the immediate problem of suicide prone districts in places like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

The launching of the National Horticulture Mission, the establishment of the National Rainfed Area Authority and the National Fisheries Development Board, and increased the Plan allocation in agriculture were some of the initiatives taken, and now these efforts needed to be expanded into "a broader based strategy for agricultural revitalization," he said.

Inclusive growth of the agricultural sector is a priority in the Approach to the XI Plan, he said, adding that the National Development Council (NDC) has worked diligently on this subject, setting up several sub-Committees chaired by different Chief Ministers.

" We must now use the Committee's recommendations to outline the agricultural strategy we propose to build into the Eleventh Plan," the Prime Minister said.

"Since agriculture is a State subject, it is important to evolve State level strategies tailored to the specific needs of the agro-climatic conditions prevailing in each state. These State specific strategies must take account of all inter-related actions needed to increase production and productivity in both crop and non-crop areas in a State. The Central Government should devise ways of helping States which are willing to evolve and implement such strategies," he added.

"Whatever strategies we choose to adopt, must deliver some results in the short and medium term so that tangible benefits are visible to the common people, to our farmers, consumers and the rural economy as a whole," he concluded.

ANI

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