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Indian Minister: Taking Advantage of Moisture to Maximise Production

11 October 2012

INDIA - Agriculture and Food Processing Minister Shri Sharad Pawar said full advantage will be taken of high moisture content in soil to maximise crop production in the coming rabi season.

Speaking at the Economic Editors Conference, Shri Pawar said that despite the erratic monsoon this year, there has been only a marginal decline in the production of various crops as compared to last year, which was a year of record production.

Shri Pawar also said he was confident that the agriculture sector will deliver an average of 4 per cent growth in the 12th Plan compared to 3.3 per cent in the current plan.

“We achieved an average growth rate of 3.3 per cent in the agriculture sector during the 11th Plan, better than that achieved during 9th Plan (2.5 per cent) and 10th Plan (2.4 per cent). Our endeavour in the 12th Plan would be to consolidate the gains and gear up to enhance the growth rate to 4 per cent," the minister said. "We recognize this challenge and will do all that is necessary to improve the required level of Gross Capital Formation in agriculture. Already, the GCF has shown an improvement from 13.1 per cent in 1999-2000 to 20.1 per cent in 2010-11 at 2004-2005 prices. This momentum needs to be maintained.”

The Minister supported FDI in the agriculture sector.

“Recognizing the need to step up investment in the agriculture sector, FDI is welcome for development of seed, post harvest management infrastructure and now in multi-brand retail trading (MBRT), subject to setting up the back-end infrastructure. This should benefit all stakeholders across the entire value and supply chain. Farmers will gain on at least two counts: significant reduction in post-harvest losses, and better prices. Consumers will gain from lower prices, greater choice, and higher quality,” Pawar said.

The Minister also informed that a National Mission of Food Processing has been launched to invigorate the food processing sector. This Mission comprises some of the ongoing schemes of the Ministry as well as adds new components, drawing upon the successes seen in schemes such as RKVY where states’ involvement and ownership have added vigour to planning and implementation of various schemes.

The National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) which has come up on the outskirts of Delhi at Kundli, Sonepat, is designed and tasked to provide one stop solutions for the issues pertaining to food processing sector, including addressing capacity building needs. The Institute has been granted “Deemed University” status.

TheCropSite News Desk

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