Raise grain output, invest in research, says PM

July 16th, 2011 - 6:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) India needs to increase its foodgrain production, improve crop yields by increasing spending on research and improving quality of education in agricultural universities if it is to stave off rising food inflation in the coming years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday.

“It should concern us that productivity in Indian agriculture has plateaued over the years. We clearly need a second green revolution that is more broad-based, more inclusive and more sustainable,” said the prime minister at a function organised by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

“Although foodgrain production is set to grow at three percent per annum in eleventh plan, we cannot be complacent. This is less than the targeted four percent and a consequence in recent years has been unacceptable levels of food price inflation,” he said.

The total demand for foodgrain is projected to touch 280 million tonnes by the year 2020-21. The country produced about 241 million tonnes in 2010-11.

The prime minister said that in order to meet this projected demand, production would have to grow at a rate of nearly two percent per year.

Food grain production had increased by only one percent per year during the 10-year period 1997-98 to 2006-07.

The Prime Minister said he was also worried over the decline in yields, particularly in areas which witnessed the green revolution but were now suffering from environmental degradation.

“We need to produce more without depleting our natural resources.. India currently spends about 0.6 per cent of its agricultural GDP on agricultural research. This needs to be enhanced 2 to 3 times by 2020, since a substantial portion of agricultural growth would come through the application of new technologies,” the prime minister added.

“But spending more on research is not enough unless this improves the quality of human resources in all areas of agriculture.”

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