Need to cut agri production costs stressed

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Hyderabad, Dec 22 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy today underlined the need for reduction in production costs of agriculture products for the benefit of the farmers in the country.

Addressing the gathering at a workshop on 'National Foreign Trade Policy: Problems and Prospects for Agriculture Products in Andhra Pradesh,' organised by the Consumers' Guidance Society of Vijayawada here, he said the State Government was taking various measures to help the farmers in the state to reduce production costs while increasing the agriculture output.

Higher public investment in the agriculture sector was very essential to reduce the production costs and the government had already initiated several measures to help the farming community in the state.

Mr Reddy said the State Government was working to constitute an Agro-processing Department for Agriculture Production to increase exports of agriculture products. Value addition was also very important to increase the exports.

The Minister said the State Government was considering a proposal to set up agriculture export zone for rice in East Godavari and West Godavari Districts.

Society Coordinator Narasimha Reddy said with the strengthening of WTO-led trade region across the world, it had become imperative for India to focus on international trade as well. He said the National Foreign Trade Policy, announced by the government, promised it would be continuously updated and improved so as to reflect the needs of the Indian trade.

He said most of the advantages of Indian production was lost at the gates of exports, for the simple reason of extensive procedures.

One of the major challenges facing Indian exports was the procedures and it required resources -- economic and political -- to overcome these procedures.

He said the exports of rice from Andhra Pradesh increased from 21 per cent to 31 per cent in 2000-01. Exports from Visakhapatnam Port alone was five lakh tonne and expected to reach eight lakh tonne.

UNI

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