He also called for a second green revolution to achieve and sustain the required agriculture sector growth rate. "Agriculture, obviously, plays an important role in rural development in the country.
Though, agriculture now accounts for only 14 per cent of the GDP and 11 per cent of our total exports, it is an essential link in the supply chain of the manufacturing sector and at the same time constitutes a big market for the industrial products," he said delivering the 4th Chaudhary Ranbir Singh Memorial lecture at Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak.
Ansari: Agriculture an essential link of manufacturing sector
Ansari said that accelerating growth of agriculture production is therefore necessary not only to achieve an overall GDP growth rate and meet the rising demand for food, but also to increase incomes of those dependent on agriculture and thereby ensure inclusiveness in our society.
He said that the average annual growth rate of agriculture and allied sectors during the 11th Five year plan was 3.7 per cent, short of the targeted 4 per cent, though better than the 2.4 per cent achieved in the 10th plan.
However, he said that it is a matter of concern that the recent growth revival in agriculture has been weak in areas with high land productivity, not only in relatively more irrigated states such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal that had green revolution success, but also in less irrigated states such as Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir where high productivity reflects a high-value cropping pattern based on horticulture.
"These States together contribute about 35 per cent of national agricultural output from 20 per cent of arable land, but none of them have been able to surpass growth rates achieved in the past," he said.
Ansari said that a second green revolution to achieve and sustain the required agriculture sector growth rate of 4 per cent and beyond, as targeted in the 12th plan period, is thus an imperative in order to achieve an overall GDP growth rate of 9-10 per cent in the years ahead," he said.