Comprehensive efforts needed for 4% agri growth in 12th Plan

Comprehensive efforts needed for 4% agri growth in 12th Plan

New Delhi: Concerned over lower farm sector growth during the 11th Plan notwithstanding bumper output, the Economic Survey 2011-12 on Thursday said comprehensive and coordinated efforts are needed to achieve 4% agricultural growth in the next Plan period.

The survey suggested that pooling of land, efficient food stock management, improvement of supply chain to achieve the desired growth. Creation of rural infrastructure and irrigation facilities and investment in research and development should also be a priority, it added.

For this fiscal, the survey pegged 2.5% growth for agriculture, which accounted for 13.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“Reasonable growth in agriculture is important both from the nutritional point of view as well as control food prices and overall headline inflation," it noted.

Pointing out that the area under foodgrains has declined in the last three decades, the report called for speedy improvement in productivity through adequate investment in research and development.

“We need to address the challenge of the agriculture sector through comprehensive and coordinative efforts directed at improving farm production and productivity of foodgrains as well as high-value crops...," the report said.

Stating that the Indian agriculture mostly comprises of small and marginal farmers with fragmented land holdings, the Survey favoured consolidation of holdings to achieve better yields.

It suggested the government to consider land laws for leasing with sufficient safeguards in place. It also emphasised on linking farmers to the markets for improving the supply chain and advised that the cooperative model could be replicated in order to achieve the goal. “The successful experience of cooperative in the milk sector in managing the supply chain and providing remunerative prices to producers may be emulated in case of agricultural products," the Survey said.

It observed that although the record procurement of rice and wheat has helped to build up the buffer stock, a huge cost is involved in the process in the form of food subsidies.

“The issue of efficient food stock management and offloading of stock in time needs urgent attention," the Survey said.

To create infrastructure requirement such as storage, communication, roads and markets, it suggested that public private partnership (PPP) model can of help to achieve faster development in these areas.

The survey also called for encouragement in investment in food processing, cold chains and packaging of processed foods as the demand for processed products are expected to rise.

My Reads Logout