Pawar assures adequate funds to states to realise 4% farm growth

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New Delhi, Feb 26 (UNI) Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today assured all the states that there will be no constraints in providing enough funds to them for achieving four per cent agricultural growth.

Addressing the National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign, here, Mr Pawar said the target for agricultural growth in the Plan had been fixed at fou per cent per annum. To achieve this target, action on several areas will be required like bringing technology to farmers, improving efficiency of investments, increasing systems support and rationalizing subsidies, diversifying while ensuring food security concerns and fostering inclusiveness through a group approach by which the poor will get better access to land, credit and skills, he said.

Mr Pawar asked State Governments to work out a Plan of Action for implementation of the National Policy for farmers, keeping in view the grassroot level requirements. He also exhorted States to intensively monitor NFSM and RKVY.

While appreciating the farming community and the State Governments for record production of rice, maize, soyabean, sugarcane and cotton in 2007-08, the Agriculture Minister said as per the second advance estimates, the production of foodgrains in 2007-08 is estimated at a record level of 219.32 million tonnes as compared to the 217.28 million tonnes in 2006-07.

He said the production of rice is estimated at 94.08 million tonnes compared to 93.35 million tonnes during the previous year.

The production of coarse cereals is estimated at 36.09 million tonnes, Cotton production at 233.81 lakh bales during 2007-08 is a record.

On ways to maximise Kharif output, he suggested to the states to popularise hybrid rice technology through demonstrations and availability of quality seeds.

For cotton, increasing availability of treated quality seeds with emphasis on de-linted seeds is required, he said.

In horticulture, the Agriculture Minister called for use of superior quality planting material.

Earlier, Mr Pawar launched e-pest surveillance device, a hand-held gadget for capturing data on pests and sending it to centralised database.

Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture Secretary, Dr P K Mishra appreciated the states for promptly operationalising the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and Rastrihya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) launched a few months back.

Though the impact of these schemes would be known only after their implementation for a number of crop seasons, the intermediate parameters were already showing improvement, he said.

Mr Mishra said distribution of quality seed of wheat has shown remarkable increase in Bihar and Rajasthan and that of pulses in Chhattishgarh. The Centre had so far released Rs 360 crore for NFSM and Rs 986 crore for RKVY, he said, while urging the States to make full use of the flexibility provided to them in formulation and implementation of schemes under RKVY.

Dr Pradeep Kumar, Secretary, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, appealed to the States to increase the share of animal husbandry activities in State and District level agricultural plans.

Expressing concern at low importance being given by States to animal husbandry, he said as against over 30% contribution of livestock related activities to the agriculture sector and their tremendous potential for increasing farm income, only 10% of the RKVY funds are presently being used for livestock-related schemes.

UNI KAS AE RAI2056

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