Need to modernise agri marketing: PM

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New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singhtoday said the government will focus on modernising theagricultural marketing system and brining in private playersto this sector in the 12th Five Year Plan beginning 2012.

"I have asked the Planning Commission and the Ministry ofAgriculture to focus particularly on this aspect in the 12thPlan. Modernisation of (agricultural) marketing impliesgreater interaction and involvement of the private sector,"Singh said while addressing a conference of US think-tankInternational Food and Policy Research Institute here.

Pointing out that India has not done as much as it shouldhave to promote modernisation of agricultural marketing, Singhsaid: "We will work with state governments to ease whateverimpediments may exist in this regard."

After the green revolution and the while revolution,the Prime Minister said, another major change is required inagricultural marketing to keep in pace with the economicgrowth and changing dietary habits.

"We now need a major revolution in agriculturalmarketing," Singh said, adding agriculture diversification infood required back-up support in terms of viable delivery andmarketing chain because much of the produce is perishable.

He said such a change is required considering India stillfaces a big challenge from malnutrition despite achieving higheconomic growth.

"...experience has shown that rapid growth in GDP ingeneral and even agriculture in particular, though necessary,is not sufficient to produce desirable nutritional and healthoutcomes among the socially and economically disadvantagedgroups," he said.

Stating that "malnutrition remains a serious problem inIndia and many developing countries", Singh said India needsto address the issue of absorption of nutrition, health andhygiene.

He said the government is planning to focus on milletsthat have a high protein, fiber and mineral content and areextremely important foodgrain for their nutritive value andhealth benefits.

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