Hyderabad, Nov 11 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today exhorted seed developers and manufacturers to step up the seed adoption rate by farmers to improve productivity.
Addressing the inaugural session of the Asian Seed Congress, Mr Pawar, while hailing the growth of the Indian seed industry with a combined annual turnover of about Rs 5000 crore, observed that the adoption rate was low among farmers.
The minister urged the seed manufacturers to incorporate the farmers needs in the seed development programme to ensure protection of traditional knowledge and at the same time make use of advancement in biotechnology.
Biotechnology had emerged as an effective tool for attaining new horizons in crop production, he said, adding that foodgrain production, which was only 50 million tonnes in 1947, had increased to 231 million tonnes during 2007-08.
While agriculture growth could not keep pace with population growth in the 1990s, over 4.7 per cent growth was registered in the last four years due to efforts of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance(UPA) Government, he said.
Pointing out that climate change and higher food price were the major challenges facing the country, he said the seed industry had an important role in improving productivity. With quality seeds, the productivity could be increased by 15 to 20 per cent and with integrated farm management, it could be further increased to 45 per cent, he added.
Mr Pawar said production of seed needed to be enhanced both in terms of quantity and quality.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy urged the seed manufacturers to make available best seeds at affordable prices to the farmers.
Dr Reddy said Minimum Support Price(MSP) for major crops had been increased significantly in the last four-and-a half years.
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