Agriculture at ''crossroads'', need for 2nd Green Revolution

Written by: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 25 (PTI) Observing that Indian agricultureis at a "crossroads", the Economic Survey today called for aSecond Green Revolution with newer technological breakthroughsand higher investment in the sector, even while projecting 5.4per cent farm growth this year.

"... The agriculture sector in India is at a crossroads,with rising demand for food items and relatively slower supplyresponse in many commodities resulting in frequent spikes infood inflation," the pre-Budget survey said.

The survey said the agriculture and allied sectors wouldregister 5.4 per cent growth this fiscal due to a goodmonsoon, compared to a mere 0.4 per cent expansion last year.

But the sector needs to grow at 8.5 per cent next fiscal toachieve the targeted 4 per cent growth in the Eleventh Plan(2007-12).

Pointing out that the technological breakthroughsachieved in the 1960s are gradually waning and no bigcrop-tech has come up since then, the survey noted: "The needfor a Second Green Revolution is being experienced more thanever before."

The survey outlined the special attention that needs tobe given to increasing production of nutrition-rich crops likepulses, fruits and vegetables, which remained untouched in thefirst Green Revolution.

Consequently, it suggested that Indian agriculture shoulddiversify from just crop farming to livestock, fisheries,poultry and horticulture, besides focusing on raising farmproductivity with adequate focus on rain-fed areas.

The survey also felt that augmenting farm productionstill remains a challenge, with stagnation in crop acreage andyields, and prescribed "concerted and focused efforts" toovercome this challenge.

"A holistic approach, simultaneously working onagriculture research, development, dissemination of technologyand provision of agricultural inputs and irrigation, wouldhelp achieve the critical levels of productivity needed," itsaid.

It noted that higher farm output is important not onlyfor the country''s food security, but also to sustain highgrowth.

Calling for higher public and private investment in thefarm sector, the survey said: "The choice before the nation isclear -- to invest more in agriculture and allied sectors withthe right strategies, policies and interventions. This is alsoa necessary condition for ''inclusive growth''." .

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