India can achieve 4% agri growth in 2012-17: President

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2013

President Pranab Mukherjee. FIle Photo.

President Pranab Mukherjee today said the country can achieve the targeted 4 per cent growth in the agriculture sector during the 12th Plan period with the help of better seeds, improved water management practice and balanced use of fertilisers and pesticides, among others.

The farm sector needs priority access to power, credit, water and fertilisers, he said at a function to distribute ‘Krishi Karman’ awards to 18 states.

Stating that agriculture is a “challenging” sector, the President said the Government should create employment opportunities in other sectors in order to reduce dependence of rural families on agriculture for livelihood.

“We can meet the 12th Plan Period (2012-17) agricultural growth target of 4 per cent per annum only through measures such as crop diversification, developing high yielding disease resistant seeds, improvement in water management practices, promotion of balanced use of fertilisers and pesticides,” he said.

The growth of agriculture and allied sectors during the 11th Plan Period (2007-12) stood at 3.3 per cent.

That apart, he said, better and increased use of satellite communication for weather forecast and effective information dissemination to farmers would prevent crop failure.

Mukherjee emphasised that farmers need Government support for upscaling themselves and “engaging in agriculture for subsistence to taking up agriculture as a commercial venture”.

“Government would simultaneously need to focus on creation of employment opportunities in other sectors to provide income diversification to rural families who today are dependent for their livelihood solely on unviable land holdings,” he said.

Mukherjee said it was essential to create infrastructure in rural areas in the form of all-season roads, multi-mode transportation, quality power supply, transparent markets, thriving financial institutions for better return to farmers.

Lauding the record foodgrains production achieved during last two years, Mukherjee said there is a need to achieve higher output considering rising demand.

“Agriculture is a challenging sector which is a critically dependent on climatic factors and availability of natural resources. The challenge is accentuated by the continuously rising pressure of demand for food, fodder, fibre and fuel.

There is a greater need today for achieving higher production in an environmentally sustainable manner,” he said.

The all-round progress in agri and allied sectors is the key for holistic rural development in the country, he said.

Mukherjee said that the four-pronged strategies adopted in Budget 2010-11, during his tenure as the Finance Minister, to propel growth in agri-sector have led to positive outcomes.

The strategies includes extending green revolution to eastern states and improving credit availability to farmers.

“We need to build-on these initiatives to induce further improvements in the agriculture sector,” he said.

Published on January 15, 2013

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