Pawar claims sharp fall in onion, vegetable rates

Mathura, Jan 24 (PTI) Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawartoday said there has been a sharp decline in onion andvegetables prices and made a case for sugar exports sayingthat cane growers wuld otherwise be hit by low rates.

When repeatedly asked for the reasons of recent pricerise, Pawar said there has been "a sharp decline in prices ofonion and vegetables".

He also claimed that prices of wheat, rice and sugar areminimum in India.

The government faces criticism on rising prices,especially of food items. Onion prices which soared to as highas Rs 80 per kg barely a month ago, coupled high rates ofother vegetables like tomato have put the government in atight spot.

The food inflation remains at a high level of 15.52 percent for the first week of January. The government hadannounced various measures to rein in rising prices.

Making a case for sugar exports, Pawar said, "Export ofsugar is a must otherwise the prices of sugar would fall tolowest ebb and farmers would stop growing sugarcane."

The food ministry recently had decided to put on hold thedecision on exports of five lakh tonnes of sugar under openlicence category in view of high prices.

Attributing less production and increasing population tothe price rise, Pawar said, "Price rise can be checked byincreasing production. Farmers should be encouraged to growmore."

He also attributed changing food habit for spiralingprices. "While earlier handful of people were consuming wheatand rest were consuming Jowar and Bajra, however now it isotherwise," he added.

Earlier, Pawar inspected CIRG Makhadoom, Farah andadvised the Scientist to concentrate their researches farmeroriented.

He was of opinion that researches should be made so as tobenefit more to common man. He stressed the need of cow andbuffalo keeping.

"With goat we can not fulfill demand of milk. It wouldhelp to increase meat production. However for reducing pricesof milk, cow and buffalo keeping should be encouraged," hesaid. PTI CORR

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