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AGRICULTURE

Committed to make Eastern Region the Granary of the Nation: Shri Pawar

New Delhi: September 26,2012

Agriculture Minister, Shri Sharad Pawar today reiterated the Government’s commitment to make the eastern region the granary of the nation by growing food grains in their natural ecology and to their full established potential. “Seeing the performance of the region in the recent past, and the dynamic political and administrative leadership that is totally committed to farmers` welfare, I am confident we can convert the region from a chronic food deficit to food provider to the nation in very quick time,” he said.

Shri Pawar is in Kolkata today for the meeting of the Committee on Chief Ministers on Eastern States held to review implementation of initiatives taken for fast agriculture growth in the eastern states.

Shri Pawar informed the Committee that he had conferred with his Cabinet colleagues in the region for supporting initiatives in the farming sector. “ While NABARD has been giving special attention to increase disbursement of credit and its coverage, task forces in water and power ministries were created to liaise with the State power and irrigation departments for convergence of their activities with those of the Agriculture Department under the program. Special meeting was held for the Eastern Region last year by Food Minister to strengthen the procurement arrangements. Final production figures from the region of course surpassed all previous figures and therefore the arrangements fell short of expectations. A number of constraints were revealed in the process. Inadequate availability of godowns, modern rice mills, transportation of the procured commodities, institutional capacity to handle procurement operations are some of these constraints that we need to make special efforts to strengthen. We have to ensure that the farmers get the minimum support price for their produce and to that extent, the awareness about the quality parameters and grading standards should be extended to the farmers.”

Further emphasising on the need to meet infrastructure and provide technological inputs to the farming, he said, “I am aware that there is a huge unmet demand for development of needed infrastructure to address various abiotic stresses that constrain the realization of the crop yield potential. Within these constraints however, newer technologies are developed that assure no loss of productivity due to prolonged dry spells, flash floods, stagnating water, soil salinity etc. We have roped in IRRI to popularize the stress tolerant rice varieties through their national partners. New multi hazard tolerant varieties are being developed to reduce the risk of crop failure by triggering coping response to either the drought or to flood or to both the calamities in the same season. We have also engaged ICARDA another CGIAR institution to promote lentils in the rice fallows to give additional -2- income to rice farmers. We are committed to develop the cropping system of the region with the latest technologies and employing all the available resources in the country and globally.”

Shri Pawar lauded the efforts put in by the eastern States in raising the production of food crops in the eastern region: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Chief Ministers and their team of officials for their stupendous efforts in extending technologies and practices to the farmers of the region that resulted in record production of rice and wheat in the region with noteworthy achievements in Bihar and Jharkhand showing quantum jump in rice production. Adoption of hybrid rice technologies, line transplantation, SRI, micro nutrients, drum seeders are some of the success stories that have emerged from the hard work put in by the State administration. This year despite a few areas facing stress due to less or more rains, we hope that remaining areas by yield gains would more than compensate shortfall in those stress areas. We are expecting a very good harvest in the region this year also.”

The meeting was attended by the Chief Minister of West Bengal and Agriculture Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Assam and Jharkhand.
 

 
PIB Release/DL/763

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