Record food production in 2010-11, says president

March 12th, 2012 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Pratibha Patil New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Agricultural growth in 2010-11 was 6.6 percent, the highest in recent times, due to the government’s continued emphasis on the sector, President Pratibha Patil said here Monday.

“I am happy that the country witnessed a record production of 241.56 million tonnes of food grains during 2010-11,” the president said while addressing the joint session of parliament on the opening day of the budget session here.

The government, she said, had introduced the National Food Security Bill in the Lok Sabha in the last winter session and was working with states towards complete computerisation of the Public Distribution System (PDS).

She said the production of fruits and vegetables at 231 million tonnes, pulses at 18 million tonnes, oilseeds at 31.1 million tonnes and cotton at 33.42 million bales also touched record production.

Mentioning the government incentivised public investment in agriculture through flagship programmes like the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the National Food Security Mission and the National Horticulture Mission, she said the pro-farmer price support policy of the last seven years was being continued.

“During the year 2011-12 the minimum support prices of selected agricultural commodities were raised by 10 to 40 per cent over the previous year,” said the president.

According to Patil, credit to agriculture reached about Rs.4,60,000 crore in 2010-11, which is 22 percent above the target, and expressed hope that the 2011-12 target of Rs.4,75,000 crore would be achieved.

The president said an interest subvention scheme was being implemented to ensure the availability of crop credit to small farmers for loans up to Rs.3 lakh at the rate of seven percent per annum.

An additional subvention of three percent is being provided to such farmers who repay their short-term crop loan in time, reducing their effective interest rate to four percent, she said.

The government would take steps to reduce the gap of about 10 million hectare between the irrigation potential created and the irrigation potential utilised. The National Water Mission would be implemented with focus on improving water use efficiency by 20 percent in five years, she said.

“My government will make efforts to realise the farming potential of rain-fed and dry land areas by ensuring healthy participation by all stakeholders and convergence of various government sponsored programmes.”

The president further said availability of all subsidised fertilisers has been ensured. “We are aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in urea production in the next five years.”

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