Agriculture and Food
Processing Minister Shri Sharad Pawar today stated that 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 here today, Shri Pawar said
that despite erratic monsoon this year there has been only marginal
decline in the production of various crops as compared to last year,
which was a year of record production.
Shri Pawar also said that he was confident that agriculture sector will
deliver an average of 4% growth in the 12th Plan as compared to 3.3% 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. 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 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
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.