Survey suggests diversification of crops to revive agriculture

With crop diversification, timely contingency plan for monsoon and advanced minimum support price for kharif, the agro sector could be revived from the doldrums, the Economic Survey has said.

The farm sector has become cereal-centric, regionally biased and input intensive, the Survey, tabled in Parliament, said, speaking at length about   a planned cultivation of pulses to reduce dependency on imports.“Meeting the high and growing demand for pulses in the country will require large increases in pulses production on irrigated land, but this will not occur if agriculture policies continue to focus largely on cereals and sugarcane,” it said.

Growing less water-intensive crops, especially pulses and oilseeds, with a favourable Minimum Support Price (MSP) and strengthened procurement system in place would aid the sector, the Survey noted.

The Survey cautiously advocated growing hybrid and genetically-modified crops to increase farm production, while insisting on “good reasons” for public apprehensions on GMOs.

Process needs to evolve
“The regulatory process in India needs to evolve so as to address the concerns in a way that does not come in the way adapting high yielding technologies and rapidly moving towards the world’s agro-technological frontier,” it said.

Since the last mile financial inclusion continues to remain poor in rural India, replacing fertilizer subsidy with cash would be a challenge, the Survey said, favouring the alternative to fix a cap on the number of subsidised bags for each household and introducing biometric authentication at the point of sale.

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