'Agri-output likely to fall by 6 million tonne'
Painting a grim picture on the farm front, the Economic Survey on Friday apprehended a six million tonne fall in foodgrain production from last year's 212 million tonne due to deficient monsoon and asked Government to step up public investment in agri-support system.
The pre-budget survey, tabled in Parliament, said there is a "paramount need to move Indian agriculture beyond its century old dependency on the monsoon by bringing more area under irrigation and by better water management".
The 2004-05 survey said production in the current year has been adversely affected by erratic and delayed monsoon with uneven distribution of rainfall over time and regions.
Given the compulsions of fiscal consolidation, the choice is between subsidy for price support to crops, fertilisers, irrigation and power on the one hand, and higher public investment in supportive infrastructure for irrigation, roads, electrification, agricultural extension and research on the other hand, it said.
With these investments, diversification of the rural economy beyond not only cereals but also agriculture appears feasible, the survey noted.
It said the vibrancy of agricultural exports observed in the recent years can get a fillip from such investments coupled with a stable policy towards agricultural trade.
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