Agri sector looking up, says Pawar

Underlining that the agriculture sector in India is “looking up”, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said that India is likely to produce 250.42 million MT of food grains, 88.31 million MT of wheat, 17.28 million MT of pulses and 34.09 million bales of cotton during the year 2011-12.

“Country  is all set to achieve 11th Five Year Plan target of four per cent growth in agriculture, he said while addressing a 72nd general council meeting of the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) here.

An ambitious programme for bringing ‘Green Revolution’ in eastern India which comprises states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh,  Jharkhand, Orissa and eastern UP,  has already been initiated to sustain and promote growth in agricultural production in the country, he said.

Pawar, however, called for “expeditious” creation of adequate storage capacity in the country, underlining the importance of post-harvest management.

He underlined that the NCDC in this direction sanctioned assistance for creation of 7.64 lakh MT of storage space up to January 31, including renovation of existing go-downs. The development of cold chains will be one of the thrust areas of the NCDC, which has been appointed as an agency for accreditation of ware-houses by the warehousing development and regulatory authority.

“The implementation of this system will facilitate creation of more efficient supply chains, provide enhanced rewards for grading and quality, enable better risk management, and ensure higher price realisation for farmers and better services to consumers,” Pawar said.

During the meeting, NCDC’s programme for the year 2012-13 involving an outlay of Rs 4,200 crore was approved. Priority will be given to programmes aimed at benefitting weaker sections and remote regions, Pawar said.

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