No loss to farmers due to rural job scheme: Pawar

August 12th, 2011 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Friday denied reports that farmers have stopped growing crops due to shortage of farm hands, who are engaged under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Food grain production in the country increased from 217.28 million tonnes in 2006-07 to 241.56 million tonnes in 2010-11, during which period the MGNREGS has been in operation, he told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

He said the food grain production has been growing at an average rate of 2.90 percent over the past four years.

Pawar also said that there are no reports to suggest that small farmers are compelled to undertake farming of eucalyptus and poplar trees due to non-availability of agricultural labourers.

To make small-holder farming viable, integrated farming system is being advocated under various government schemes, he added.

The agriculture ministry had recently suggested to the rural development ministry to suspend MGNREGS during the Kharif sowing season to avoid farm labour shortages.

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