Chief ministers of several states discussed ways and methods to reverse the growth deceleration that has set in the agriculture sector at a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) Sub-Committee on Agriculture and Related issues on Wednesday.
The focus, the chief ministers suggested, should be on the infusing large-scale capital investment into the sector and to reap the benefits of public-private partnership, especially improving the all-important aspect of irrigation. The thrust, they emphasised, should be on shrugging off the stagnation that has crept into the sector.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Union Minister for Agriculture, Food & Consumer Affairs Shri Sharad Pawar, was convened to examine, in depth, the problems facing Indian agriculture and also to suggest implementable action plans.
"There were suggestions for taking the public-private route besides enhancement of capital investments for speeding up irrigation and other agriculture projects,’’ an official said after the NDC meeting. What the chief ministers thought and recommended would be compiled before the next meeting of the NDC, to be held on May 29, to be chaired by Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. These proposals, if agreed, would become part of the 11th plan.
Speaking to reporters on the issues raised at the sub-committee meeting, Pawar said various chief ministers presented their report on agri-related issues.
While Andhra Pradesh CM Rajashekhara Reddy presented a report on animal husbandry and poultry, the Orissa CM Naveen Patnaik submitted a report on Region and Crop specific productivity analysis and agro-climatic zones, Pawar said. Reports on dry land farming prepared by a committee headed by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi were also discussed, he said.
Several working groups including those on Risk Management in Agriculture, Agriculture Extension, Horticulture, Plantation and Organic Farming have been set up for providing inputs for the 11th Plan on agriculture sector.
Later, speaking on the sidelines, Pawar said wheat procurement has been affected due to late arrival of the food grain in the market, adding that the government would do its best to maximize farmers’ profit by by separating straw from wheat was causing the delay.
Wheat procurement as on yesterday stood at 35.45 lakh tonnes as against 56.46 lakh tonnes till same date last year. The arrivals stood at 46.81 lakh tonnes as on April 17 compared to 67.9 lakh tonnes as on same date last year.
"The arrival of the wheat in the market has been slightly late as growers are using hand-operated harvesting machine to maximise extraction of straw from wheat crop instead of mechanised system,’’ Pawar said.
He added that the CMs of Punjab and Haryana had assured that wheat production would be good and the procurement will pick up.