Assistance to farmers essential for grains production: Pawar

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Muzaffarpur, Jun 10 (UNI) The government cannot accelerate the pace of food production without providing financial assistance to the farmers, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said.

Speaking at a function here after inaugurating a laboratory at the National Litchi Research Centre Mr Pawar reiterated the UPA government's commitment to redress the grievances of farmers.

He said the country had produced 217.28 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2006-07 which had increased to 227.32 million tonnes in 2007-08.

He maintained that the increase in foodgrain production like oilseeds, pulses, fruits and vegetables was due to the initiatives taken by National Food Security Mission and National Agriculture Development Scheme.

He also claimed that India ranked second in fruit and vegetable production while it is one of the largest producers, consumers and exporters of spices and dry fruits.

India is also ranked first in the production of litchi, grapes and banana, the minister added.

He also expressed deep concern over the pathetic condition of farmers in Bihar which ultimately resulted in insufficient production of foodgrains in the state leading to starvation and malnutrition.

''There is a dire need of Union and state goverments working together to redress the grievances of the farmers in the state by fulfilling their aspirations like providing seeds, availability of fertilisers and financial assistance like agricultural loans,'' the minister added.

He also insisted on utilisation of modern methods for increase in litchi production and proper cold storage system for seasonal fruits in the state as it will help in strengthening Bihar's economy.

Bihar Agriculture Minister Nagmani said the state government was commited to the development of agriculture as a road-map had been prepared for 'rainbow revolution' in the state which will ultimately fulfil the aspiration and long-cherished dreams of the farmers.

UNI XC-RH PL KLC1810

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