A second green revolution is urgently needed to raise the growth rate of agriculture GDP in India to around 4 per cent, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Monday.
Speaking at the plenary session on 'Developmental Challenges of the States: Partnership Opportunities' at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2007, Pawar said that policies were being framed to ensure that growth is broad based, benefiting all parts of the country, especially the rural areas.
"The face of agriculture would be changed if the public and private sectors could converge their energy and resources," the minister said.
Stating that public-private partnerships were being visualised in marketing infrastructure, food processing, value addition, water conservation and e-agriculture, he called upon overseas Indians and the states to be important partners in this endeavour.
"There is tremendous opportunity for private sector in agribusiness, especially in the areas related to creation of agri-marketing infrastructure," Pawar said.
"The infrastructure would involve setting up of pre-cooling centres, pack houses (AND) cold storages."
To strengthen infrastructure, investment had been stepped up, particularly in the case of irrigation, marketing and watershed development.
According to Pawar, the target to double agriculture credit flow in three years has almost been achieved.
He said direct marketing, contract marketing and development of competitive agricultural markets in private and cooperative sectors have been identified as key areas of reforms.
Coming to the role of IT in agriculture, the minister said that e-agriculture or 'agriculture online' could be the way forward.
"A combination of IT and biotechnology can really transform the rural landscape."
Expressing confidence that much more investment would flow into agriculture, Pawar said India's aim was to obtain its rightful place in the world agriculture map.