More land must be cultivated to counter crop fatigue

 
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Chandigarh, Apr 18 (UNI) Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today urged the Centre and State Governments to take necessary steps to bring more areas under cultivation for further increase in productivity in the agriculture sector.

Speaking at the meeting of National Development Council sub-committee on Agriculture and Related Issues at New Delhi, Mr Hooda said in states like Punjab and Haryana, the soils had developed crop fatigue and achieving any further increase in productivity with the present level of technology could only be marginal.

He said that in several underdeveloped regions of the country, vast stretches of cultivable lands were lying exploited. He said there is also a need to make concerted efforts to increase productivity in other States so as to make per unit production comparable to that of Punjab and Haryana for wheat and paddy crops.

The Chief Minister said Haryana had accorded top priority to agriculture and all-out efforts were being made to improve productivity as well as production. He said Kharif foodgrain production in Haryana in 2005 was 39.87 lakh MT, up from 38.59 lakh MT in Kharif 2004 and State's Kharif foodgrain production in 2006 further increased by 11.4 per cent to 44.98 lakh M T.

The productivities of rice, jowar, maize, bajra, kharif pulses grew by 6.1, 5.1, 7.5, 43.8 and 6.5 per cent respectively, he added.

Despite extensive damage to wheat crop by untimely rains and hailstorms this year, the state was expecting to meet its ambitious target of arresting the six-year-long continuous declining trend of productivity of wheat compared to the previous year.

Mr Hooda said for the year 2007-08, the Haryana Government had substantially enhanced the outlay for Agriculture Sector. The plan outlay for crop husbandry has been increased 81.5 per cent over the last year and 13 new schemes introduced, including a new Rs 5.80 crore scheme to enhance the productivity of major crops in the low productivity blocks.

While referring to the important issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP), Mr Hooda said the National Commission for Farmers had clearly brought out in its final report that even the cost of cultivation were not covered by MSP in case of paddy, wheat, bajra and gram in Haryana.

He said the Commission had recommended that MSP should at least be 50 per cent more than the weighted coverage cost of production.

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