A high-ranking bureaucrat in the Andhra Pradesh Government has said that subsidies once introduced are very difficult to reduce or go back.

“There are two subsidies like that – agricultural and food subsidies. Global experience shows that which ever Government that tried to wriggle out of them has paid very heavy price,” Mr I.Y.R. Krishna Rao, Principal Secretary (Agricultural Marketing and Cooperating Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh), has said.

Delivering the inaugural address at the CII conference on AgriVision 2020 – Partnering and innovating for sustainable agriculture here on Saturday, he said politics were intertwined in issues related to agriculture, hindering productivity and sustainability.

“What is required is a visionary policy making environment, which should make it a point to take decisions based not on day to day politics, but keeping the larger interests of the sector as a whole”, he said.

Mr Rao said there was need to focus on contract farming and agricultural processing.

“Over emphasis of remunerative prices of the farmers at the expense of the industry at time led to the provisions of the contract not being enforced properly,” he said.

Mr S. Sivakumar, Chief Executive (ITC Ltd, Agri-business Division), said that there was need to address Agricultural Produce Marketing (APMC), Essential Commodities Act and Forwards Market Regulation reforms.

He also called for customised agricultural extension in the place of the practice of giving generic extension to farmers.

Dr Gyanendra Shukla, Director (Mahyco Monsanto Biotech), said that organic material in the soil was fast depleting because of aggressive farming over a period, throwing challenges to farm community.

The event was organised to collaboratively develop an agriculture vision for 2020 and work out sustainable solutions through farmer education, use of higher-yielding inputs, processing, supply-chain linkages, end-user industries and newer approaches to overcome farming challenges.

(This article was published on February 19, 2012)
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