There is need to increase farmers’ profitability: Ahluwalia

June 6th, 2008 - 12:36 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) Lauding India’s farm growth of 4.5 percent, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia Thursday said there was need to boost farmers’ profitability to further increase productivity. “A growth of 4.5 percent in farm sector is enough to meet India’s food requirements, but we need to increase productivity, thereby increasing farmers’ profitability. More and more technological intervention is required,” said Ahluwalia.

“India cannot be significantly dependent on food imports. Productivity has to be increased,” he said. Ahluwalia was speaking here on “Rejuvenating Agriculture: The Challenges Ahead” to mark the foundation day of the state-owned National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS).

He also stressed the need to integrate rural development programmes with agriculture development by promoting rain harvesting to enhance the country’s farm productivity.

“All forms of water use are hugely important. Similarly, there is need to inject technology in revitalising farming, an area where institutions like NAAS and other universities can play a crucial role,” Ahluwalia said.

Later, he told reporters that there would be no adverse impact on farm sector in the wake of the government’s decision to increase diesel price by Rs.3 per litre.

“Increase in diesel price is very small. You are not focusing on the fact that the increase in the output of farmers is very much larger. What is important is if you want agriculture productivity to increase, farmers must get fair price for their outputs,” he said.

“Fact of the matter is that the farm output prices this year are extremely profitable, and a small increase in diesel will not reduce farmers’ profitability,” Ahluwalia said.

Ahluwalia, however, hastened to add that the country had to bear the burden arising out of sky-rocketing crude oil prices and inflationary trends across the globe.

“Who should bear the burden is a matter of judgement. In the case of hike in petroleum prices, what is being passed on to the consumers is very small. Only 11 percent of the expected effect has been passed on to the consumers,” said Ahluwalia.

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