New Delhi: India's food grain
production could touch a record 250 million tonnes in 2011-12,
exceeding the annual target by five million tonnes, Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh said Wednesday.
Addressing a workshop on 'Policy Initiatives for Promoting
Partnership between Stakeholders in Agriculture with Particular
Reference to Rainfed and Dryland Farming' at Rashtrapati Bhavan
here, the prime minister said production of cotton in 2011-12 was
estimated to be 34 million bales, also a new record.
"The second Advance Estimates for 2011-12 indicate that the
production of foodgrain is expected to reach the record level of
over 250 million tonnes, exceeding the target for the year by five
million tonnes. The production of cotton in 2011-12 estimated at
34 million bales is also a new record," he said.
Noting that Indian farmers had "done us proud" again this year, he
said: "But we still have a long way to go."
Manmohan Singh said he believed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)
government over the last seven and a half years had given
considerable attention to agriculture and was able to channel
about Rs.4.74 lakh crore of bank credit into the agriculture and
"Minimum support prices for key agricultural commodities have been
significantly enhanced. Indeed, they have been enhanced as never
before. We have increased public investment in agriculture, with
the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana giving states a strong incentive
to increase their involvement and their investment in
agriculture," he said.
Consequently, the prime minister added, allocation for agriculture
and allied sectors as a proportion of state plan expenditure has
gone up from 4.88 percent in 2006-07 to 6.04 percent in 2010-11.
"I am very happy that our agricultural policies have yielded
positive result. Gross capital formation in agriculture and allied
sectors has increased from 13.1 percent of gross domestic product
(GDP) in agriculture in 2004-05 to 20.1 percent in 2010-11."
"Agriculture and allied sectors have grown at an estimated rate of
3.5 percent during the Eleventh Plan compared to the growth rates
of 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent during Tenth and Ninth Plans
respectively," he said.
Recollecting what he had said at the Foundation Day celebrations
of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in July last
year, Manmohan Singh said the challenges that India's agriculture
faces in the coming years remain enormous.
"As an illustration, to meet the total demand of food grains in
the year 2020-2021, we need a growth rate of at least two percent
per year in food production. This has to be contrasted with the
average annual rate of only one percent that we achieved in the
10-year period from 1995-96 to 2004-05," the prime minister said.
"Although food production has regained momentum in the recent
years, we cannot afford to be complacent since the demand for
horticulture and animal products is increasing very rapidly and
this will require some shift of area away from production of food
grains. Therefore, agricultural productivity in food grain
production has to go up handsomely," he added.