New Delhi: A record 283 lakh tonnes of sugar were produced in 2007, which proved to be a huge relief to consumers, as prices fell.
Edible oil and pulses remained a cause of concern for the government, evident from the fact that it is considering a buffer stock for these two commodities, due to lower output of oilseeds and pulses compared to demand. The government asked the state-owned trading firms MMTC, PEC, STC and Nafed to import 15 lakh tonnes of pulses during the year to meet demand.
Food security has been identified as thrust area during 11th Plan. Supporting state-specific farm strategy, better seed production, focused research, extension and development of modern markets were also recognized as key focus areas.
The share of ‘agriculture and irrigation´ sector in the total outlay for 11th Five-Year Plan has been increased to 8.55% from 6.22% in the 10th Plan. The sector has been allotted Rs 1,21,556 crore during the 11th Plan.
The centre aims to achieve 4% annual growth for the sector during 2007-12, which is almost double than average growth rate of 2.3% in the 10th Plan.
The government also allowed farmers to receive credit from banks against their deposits in warehouses as the Warehousing Act was amended suitably.
At the end of the year, the government introduced the National Policy on Farmers in the Parliament, which emphasizes that socio-economic wellbeing must be a prime consideration of agricultural policy, besides production and growth.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said: “The new policy, together with the initiatives already taken by the government, would help accelerate the overall growth of the sector and improve the well being of million of farmers in the country”.