Govt for cos acquiring land in Africa for pulses cultivation

"We import pulses and we will be more supportive of more land being brought under cultivation and for value addition. India is the market and we have been investing in agriculture...," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had said.

With the unabated rise in demand for various foodgrains including pulses, Indian firms have already started scouting for agricultural lands overseas and the government's patronage in this endeavour would only fuel the pace.

Noting that the thrust area of the Indian firms would be on agro processing and food processing sectors, Sharma said that Africa would reap benefit with the Indian investment, its technology which would help the land of safari to generate employment.

Ficci President Rajan Bharti Mittal also said :"Various African governments have invited Indian government and through it to Indian farmers or companies to come and do farming as the African continent's climate is conducive for pulses".

Mittal said the African government has already invited Indian companies and farmers to take the advantage of vast land available in the region for cultivation of pulses, of which India is a net importer.

"India is a net pulse importer, it would be probably feasible for pulses to be grown there," Mittal said, adding that such developments (Indian firms going to Africa for cultivation) would be a win-win situation for both India and Africa as they are are destined to face the food crunch.

"I think for both countries food security will become the issue over a period of time and I think we need to take the next step forward," he added.

India has produced 4.3 million tonnes of pulses during the 2009-10 kharif season, which is likely to go up to six million tonnes in the same season of 2010-11.

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