New Delhi, Feb 20 (ANI): Asserting that the Central Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to improve returns to farming and step up investment in rural infrastructure, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said the food production will exceed 250 million tonnes at the end of the 11th plan.
Addressing the Golden Jubilee of Indian Agricultural Research Institute here, Dr Singh said: "We have reached new plateaus in foodgrain production. Food production at the end of the 11th Plan will exceed 250 million tonnes, an all time record."r. Singh said that it now looks as if agricultural growth is likely to be about 3.5 per cent per annum during the 11th Five Year Plan, which is much better than in the 10th Five Year Plan.
"This is a commendable achievement but we must improve upon it in the Twelfth Plan to reach 4 percent growth or even higher. This will call for very determined effort on the part of both the central government and the state governments ranging over many areas including investment in irrigation, investment in watershed management, provision of credit, provision of marketing support etc.," said Dr. Singh.
"One of the key elements in that effort must be the contribution of agricultural research and I would like to use this opportunity to focus on this area," he added.
Emphasising that both land and water are limited, Dr Singh called for developing agricultural technology, which can ensure high yield while commissioning on water and is also capable of withstanding water stress.
"We need to develop varieties which can ensure high yield while economising on water and are also capable of withstanding water stress. This is as true of crop production as for livestock. We need to develop improved breeds which can flourish in our agro climatic conditions and do not require high value inputs which our farmers cannot afford," he added.
Dr. Singh further said that the government is committed to raise research and development spending as a whole to at least two percent of the GDP by the end of the twelfth plan from the current level of about one percent.
"Given the importance that agriculture has in achieving our national goals, we have to ensure that a significant proportion of increased R and D spending is directed to agriculture and related activities," he added.
Asserting that there is a need to deal with the threat of climate change, Dr. Singh said, climate change and rising demand for commercial energy are expected to have a significant impact on agriculture in the country. (ANI)
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