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Agriculture report every year

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The government will bring out a report on the state of agriculture every year before the Budget, said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday.

Addressing a delegation of farmer leaders, the Prime Minister said he would convene a joint meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar after the Budget session to discuss issues relating to farmers.

Reiterating the government’s deep concern for farmers’ welfare, he said “farmers interests were paramount and would be fully protected at all times”.

The government had substantially enhanced the minimum support prices over the past 5-6 years and will continue to strive to protect farmers’ interests through the MSP mechanism, he said.

Regarding land acquisition, he said a separate meeting would be held with the ministry of Rural Development and farmers’ organisations.

The delegation raised a number of issues, including remunerative prices for farm produce, amendment to the Land Acquisition Act, loans, other than crop loans, at four per cent interest and effective implementation of the MSP.

Health insurance for farmers, ensuring farmers’ interests while framing the Seed Bill, separate budget for agriculture along the lines of railways budget, due consideration of sensitivities about GM crops and protecting the interests of Indian farmers while engaging with WTO were other issues raised by the delegation.

 


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Agriculture sector to be the main focus in 12th Planning Commission

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COIMBATORE: Dr. K Kasthurirangan, member of Planning Commission, recently issued a statement declaring that the agenda of upcoming 12th Planning Commission would be mainly on managing a consistent growth pattern in the sector of agriculture.

The commission has already started drafting few policies in order to accomplish the same. The statement was issued by Dr. Kasthurirangan as a part of his speech at a recent press conference attended by him at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). "Having available lands, the country needs to double the agricultural productivity using the modern technology so that the country achieves food security," said, Dr. K. Kasthurirangan from Planning Commission.

As per the information, the registered agriculture gross domestic product (GDP) for 10th five year plan was a mere three percent, while in 11th five year plan, it rose just by 0.5 percent. In addition, the present existing average production level in India is a mere two metric tons per hectare in comparison to four metric tons per hectare observed across the globe.

 


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'Agrovision 2011' for Vidarbha farmers

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NAGPUR: Maharashtra agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil has inaugurated 'Agrovision 2011'. It is a platform for the farmers of the Vidarbha region. This exhibition was organised by Vidarbha Economic Council, MM Active-Scitec Communications, Ministry of Earth Sciences, and Purthi Power and Sugar Ltd.

There were more than 150 stalls of various manufacturing companies such as tractors, irrigation products, seeds, electric pumps. Along with the private companies and also the government departments have put their stalls of different products. This exhibition also displayed advanced technology for the farmers.

Farmers are of the opinion that they have been suffering heavy losses due to traditional way of farming and advanced technologies can help sustain growth.


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Pratibha: agriculture research must meet national priorities

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President Pratibha Patil on Saturday asked research institutions to develop partnerships with the farming communities for effective transfer of technology.

Expressing concern at the slow pace of technology dissemination from lab to land, she said the successes in the laboratory were often missing on the field and the extension machinery was weak. “Agriculture research must focus on priorities that meet national priorities,” she said at the annual convocation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) here.

She conferred degrees on 69 Ph.D and 75 M.Sc students in the presence of Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas and IARI Director H.S. Gupta.

Favouring a complementary role for the industry in developing the farm sector, Ms. Patil said, there were many benefits of agriculture and the corporate sector working together. “I believe that farming is the biggest enterprise in our country. Industry-agriculture joint enterprises can be complementary to each other. Industry can involve farmers as stakeholders in an array of activities in terms of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and implements, besides marketing and food processing.”

“The partnership arrangement should be voluntary, autonomous and democratic. It should be a transparent process, where farmers see such arrangements as a measure to empower them and are confident about the ownership of their land.

“Agriculture sector accounts for less than a quarter of the country’s GDP, but employs 60 per cent of the workforce. With more than six lakh villages being homes to millions of farmers and farm workers, it is difficult to visualise a prosperous India without rural development,” the President observed.

Pointing to the low level of productivity in comparison to other countries, Ms. Patil asked the scientists to bridge the gap. Rice productivity in the country had doubled to 3.3 tonnes per hectare since 1960s, she said, but it was still lower than the yield level of countries like Bangladesh, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. The wheat yield had tripled to 2.8 tonnes per hectare in the past 50 years, but it was still half of what was produced on a hectare of land in the European Union.

With the rise in food production prices, there was a need for developing strategies that maximised productivity and generated income and employment for rural population.

With 82 per cent of farmers in the country being small and marginal, the President said, the economic limitation of small-sized land operations was the main challenge. Mridhul Chakraborti and Santosh H.B. received ‘Best Student of the Year’ award. Five faculty members of the post-graduate school including A.D. Munshi, Y.S. Shivey, S.D. Singh, D.K. Singh and V.T. Gajbhiye were given ‘Best Teacher’ award.

 


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India should attain global standards in agriculture education, says Pawar

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Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Sharad Pawar has called for evolving global standards to enhance quality and relevance of agricultural education and research in the country.

Addressing a two-day Conference of Vice Chancellors of Agriculture Universities and Directors of ICAR Institutes here, Pawar said that requisite models of public-private partnerships must be evolved for educational activities as well as for development.

He underlined the need for application and flow of technologies from lab to the market place and for strengthening of national agricultural research and education system infrastructure through active interface with the industry.

"In order to effectively address the emerging needs of agricultural sector, we require highly competent human resources," he added.

Referring to the revised course curricula now implemented in agricultural universities, Pawar said that new curricula focuses on development of knowledge, skills and attitude.

"To make it demand driven new courses have been added including the Experiential Learning with the objective of entrepreneurship development in students," he added.

The Minister further said: "Degradation of natural resources and unpredictable shifts in climatic patterns have been impacting the farming practices.

"Competitions posed by globalization and opening up of economies, ethical issues of trade related intellectual property rights, genetically modified foods and organisms and enforcement of strict quality regimes need immediate attention while developing technically qualified manpower," he added.

Pawar said the infrastructure including the laboratories, farm and other facilities in some of the institutions are quite old and need renovation and upgradation.

He said that though the ICAR supports agricultural universities to the possible extent to develop globally competitive infrastructure for technology generation and dissemination and human capacity building, the States should also rise to the occasion by extending adequate support.

He called upon the Vice Chancellors to expeditiously take steps for adoption of the Model Act developed by the ICAR for agricultural universities.

Expressing happiness over increase in number of woman students in higher agricultural education in the recent years, he said that 60 new girls hostels in 38 agricultural universities have been completed that can accommodate 3,000 more girl students. (ANI)

 


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