Government to plan rabi crop strategy

September 13th, 2011 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) Concerned over declining availability and consumption, the government will ask states to promote the cultivation of nutri-cereals like millets, bajra and ragi.

The issue will be taken up during the rabi strategy to be discussed by the agriculture ministry with state officials Sep 14, said agriculture ministry officials.

Agriculture expert and National Advisory Council (NAC) member M.S. Swaminathan has been stressing on the importance of including nutri-cereals in the proposed food security bill to strengthen the food basket of the beneficiaries.

To promote the cultivation of millets, the government had announced the allocation of Rs.300 crore in budget 2011-12.

Nutri-cereals comprising bajra, jowar, ragi and small millets like sanwa, kodo, kutki, proso (common millet) and foxtail are highly nutritious and are known to possess several medicinal properties.

The government will also ask state governments and seed producing agencies to assess all crops seed production in the kharif 2012 season and take remedial measures to increase the seed yield per unit area.

The government will ask states for sustained increase in production and productivity of new and improved varieties of crops and efficient system of production and supply of seeds to farmers.

It will ask Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to give more thrust on seed production of paddy, wheat, pulses and oilseeds to avoid shortage of seed in kharif 2012 and rabi 2012-13.

The government will also review the Rural Godown Scheme (RGS) as small farmers do not have economic strength to retain produce with them till market price is favourable.

“There is a need to provide farmers with scientific storage facilities to avoid wastage. It is also important for the farmer to meet his credit requirement so he is not compelled to sell produce at a time when the prices are low and avoid distress sales,” said an official.

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