Pawar says wheat import required to boost buffer stock

November 14th, 2007 - 10:39 am ICT by admin  
“We are not very happy with the buffer stock. We do require some buffer stock if emergency comes,” Pawar told reporters at the Economic Editors’ conference here.

On Monday, the MMTC had floated a global tender to import up to 350 thousand tonnes of wheat.

Pawar emphasised that it was a conscious decision to import wheat to bridge the demand-supply gap.

While addressing the conference, Pawar said: “During 2006-07, the agriculture sector has posted new landmarks. The record production of 216 million tonnes of food grains, 22.7 million bales of cotton and 345 million tonnes of sugarcane restores our confidence that we have the potential to meet the challenges.”

Talking about the growth rate and investment in agriculture sector, he said, ” The average growth rate of the sector during the last two years has been over four per cent. Investment in agriculture has also shown a rising trend in these two years.”

He, however, added that these achievements leave no room for complacency, in view of the serious constraints still faced by the sector.

Commenting on the crucial issue of food security, Pawar said it is as important as national security, given the size and population of the country, adding, “The government has launched a Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘National Food Security Mission (NFSM)’ that is being implemented in a mission mode for achieving the goal of producing additional 10 million tonnes of rice, eight million tonnes of wheat and two million tonnes of pulses by the end of the plan.”

Changes in the climate at global level are now a reality and these are likely to impact the country’s agriculture making it more vulnerable, said Pawar.

“The ICAR has already established a countrywide network project to study the impacts, adaptations and the mitigation strategies,” he added.

Lauding the UPA Government’s effort in providing ample Minimum Support Price (MSP), Pawar said, “The government has provided the biggest increase in MSP to ensure that farmers get better prices for their produce.” (ANI)

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