Agri growth may cross 4% this yr: Pawar | business | Hindustan Times
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Agri growth may cross 4% this yr: Pawar

business Updated: Apr 20, 2011 16:23 IST
New Delhi

India's farm growth may cross 4% in 2011-12 on the back of monsoon rains, which are expected to be normal this year as per the Met Department.

"Our efforts will be to maintain 4% agriculture growth this year and beyond that if monsoon cooperates," Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said in New Delhi.

The growth target for the previous fiscal was also 4% but the country's agriculture output expanded by 5.6%, helped by good rains.

Pawar said farmers are ready to sow Kharif (summer) crops. There are adequate quantities of vital inputs like fertiliser and seeds.

In the backdrop of record wheat production in 2010-11, Pawar said the government would consider the demand for allowing export of the grain.

"The government will definitely apply its mind whether to enter international market where prices are quite favourable for export of wheat..." he said.

Agriculture Secretary P K Basu, who was present at the Centre's meeting with the state cooperative ministers, also pitched for allowing wheat export.

"We have enough stocks and we can easily export two million tonnes of wheat and rice," he said.

The government had banned export of wheat since 2007 to keep prices under check. There are also restrictions on overseas shipment of non-basmati rice, sugar and pulses.

While food inflation remains an area of concern for the government, prices of these commodities have been stable.

Pawar made a case for relaxing some restrictions on export of cotton, sugar and rice in the wake of adequate stocks and the opportunity available for farmers to take advantage of higher global prices.

The minister said the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has ample wheat stock of 14 million tonnes, as against the buffer norm of seven million tonnes as of now.

The government's wheat procurement will definitely be 24-25 million tonnes in 2010-11, he said, adding that the arrival of wheat would increase in the next two-three days.

On farm loans, Pawar said credit flow to farmers has increased to Rs 3.72 lakh crore till February of the 2010-11 fiscal. The target for the last fiscal was Rs 3.75 lakh crore.

The commercial banks have dispersed Rs 2.68 lakh crore of loans to farmers, cooperative banks Rs 65,055 crore and regional banks Rs 38,637 crore till February of the FY'11, he added.