The 12th Plan may see farmers being organised in small groups to market their produce and achieve economies of scale, as land holdings dwindle across the country.

Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen on Friday stressed the need to organise farmers in small groups to sell their produce, as about half of them own less than a hectare of land. Such a move would assume significance as the future of Indian agriculture is in high-value perishable items, such as fruits and vegetables, which require huge investments.

“Aggregation or group activity at the village level is important for Indian agriculture, going forward. We have to get the farmers together into groups or co-operatives so that they can sell their produce as a group, like Amul has done for the milk sellers,” Sen said at Global Agri-Connect.

The two-day event, organised by the National Skills Foundation of India, in association with Indian Agricultural Research Institute, is focusing on high-value agriculture.

The 11th Plan focused on bridging yield gaps, while the 12th Plan will try to give a thrust to aggregation and group activity, Sen said. Besides, there is need to stress on farm extension services, which would help in building the necessary skills, he said.

Ashok Gulati, Chairman, Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices, said food grains account for about a fourth of India’s agriculture in value terms. As income levels increase, the demand for protein products is on the rise.

Gulati emphasised the need to develop the food processing sector to not only prevent wastage of fruits and vegetables, but also ensure stable income to farmers.

YES Bank released a knowledge report on high-value sectors in agriculture, such as dairy, horticulture, fisheries, livestock and poultry.

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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