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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 29, 2007
Manmohan Singh calls for boosting agricultural growth
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Manmohan Singh calls for boosting agricultural growth

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday emphasised the need for reversing the prolonged slowdown in the agricultural sector for an inclusive growth.

New Delhi, May 29 : Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Tuesday emphasised the need for reversing the prolonged slowdown in the agricultural sector for an inclusive growth.

In his opening remarks at 53rd National Development Council (NDC) meeting, Dr Singh said, "The importance of agriculture in our economy can hardly be overstated. Reversing the prolonged slowdown in this sector is essential for our goal of inclusive growth, for ensuring that growth benefits all sections of society and all regions of our vast country".

He said it was essential to make farming a viable activity otherwise it would be virtually impossible to reduce rural poverty.

"The rates of growth of agriculture in the last decade have been poor and are a major cause of rural distress in some parts of our country. Farming is increasingly becoming an unviable activity, particularly because of the nature of landholdings. Small and marginal farms have become an unviable proposition and till we make farming as a whole viable at this scale, it would be virtually impossible to reduce rural poverty and distress," he said.

Pointing out that there have not been many breakthroughs in agricultural production technologies in recent years, Dr Singh called upon to address the "technology fatigue".

One of the key features of the country's agricultural scenario is the presence of substantial yield gaps, he said, adding that these yield increase potentials vary from 40 percent to 100 percent in different states and region.

Dr Singh said that production in the next three to four years can only be increased from bridging this massive yield gaps.

"By focussing efforts on bridging this yield gap, I am certain that we can achieve substantial results in a short time span of three to four years," he added.

He further said: "Bridging these gaps therefore requires localised, state - specific strategies based on local agro-climatic conditions and constraints and responding to felt needs of the local population".

He extended Central support to area specific plans and strategies, which are worked together with the States, large enough to make a visible impact in the next three to four years.

In view of a mismatch between demand and supply of wheat, pulses and edible oil, Dr Singh said that a Food Security Mission could be launched for raising production of these items in the next three years.

"The recent rise in prices of certain food products has been the result of slow supply response to rising demand. This has been particularly true of wheat, pulses and edible oils. We have had to import many of these products to ensure adequate availability of essential food items.

"Therefore, we need to work towards a rapid rise in the production of wheat, rice, pulses and edible oils so that prices can be kept under check and there is adequate supply of these to the common man. We can also consider launching a Food Security Mission for raising production of these items in the next three years," said Dr Singh.

ANI

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