AP to be conferred with Agriculture award

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Hyderabad, Sep 13: Enthused by a New Delhi-based Non-Governmental Organisation bestowing Andhra Pradesh with the 'Best Performing State in Agriculture' award, the state government has targetted to increase foodgrain production to 21 million tonnes during 2008-09.

Thanking Haryana Governor and Agriculture Leadership Awards Committee chairman A R Kidwai for selecting the state for the award to be presented at New Delhi on September 19, Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy told reporters here today that the credit should go to the state's farmers, who had increased productivity and brought down cost of production.

He announced on the occasion that farmers, who were not covered by the Central loan waiver scheme, would be provided Rs 5,000 each as incentive in October.

The state stood third in foodgrain production in the country with 19.9 million tonnes after Uttar Pradesh (45 million tonnes) and Punjab (25 million tonnes), he said adding foodgrain production was only 137 lakh tonnes in 2003-04 when the TDP was in power.

The Minister, who would receive the award on behalf of the state, said the policy initiatives taken by the Congress government in the state, including free power to peasants and irrigation initiatives had helped the state to get the award.

Alleging that the previous TDP government had ''totally neglected'' agriculture, he said at present the state had emerged as a model for other states in pro-peasant policies and this was acknowledged by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Planning Commission Vice-Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.


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