More private participation in agri-research urged

April 26th, 2009 - 2:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) India, whose agricultural productivity is 35-50 percent lower than the world average, requires more private participation and investment in agricultural research and development (R&D), an industry lobby has said.
“India’s, agricultural productivity is between 35-50 percent below the world average. Within India, there are significant differences in the yield of eastern states and the northwestern states such as Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh,” said the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry (FICCI) in a report.

The yield of wheat in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka are “alarmingly low”, the report said, adding that the yield of rice in Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Bihar are at “concerning” levels.

Several factors like low fertiliser use, poor seed replacement ratios and improper water, land and crop management practices contribute to lower productivity of rice and wheat in eastern India.

According to the report, the average yield of rice in India is 50 percent of what is achieved in China and the US.

The situation is marginally better when it comes to average productivity in wheat, where India is at par with the US. But Indian maize yields are one-fifth of that of the US and one-third of China.

The current rate of growth of food-grains production (1.2 percent) is considerably below the annual rate of growth of population (1.9 percent). The yields have been virtually stagnant over the past 16 years in all cereal crops, especially wheat, rice and maize, the industry chamber said.

It added that the public-private partnership in agricultural R&D must be increased with special focus on identified crops and productivity increase.

India allocates 0.36 percent of its agriculture GDP to R&D, which is well below the average 0.54 percent, allocated by developing countries, FICCI said.

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