Retail FDI supported by farmers, will benefit them and consumers: Manmohan Singh
He noted that some of the crops are perishable and therefore pose special post-harvest handling and marketing problems which affect farm incomes.
"Agricultural supply chains in India are highly fragmented and inefficient, leading to losses to both producers and consumers.
Consumers pay high prices but the benefit of these high prices do not reach the producers.
The development of efficient and vertically integrated supply chains in agriculture can take care of these issues," he said.
The Prime Minister said that the scope for building such supply chains is especially large in more advanced agricultural states and Punjab can be a torch bearer in this shift.
"Investment in back-end infrastructure has the potential of minimising wastage, especially of perishable fresh foods and vegetables, and increasing the income of farmers. Punjab should take the lead in encouraging best practices in crop management and improving food safety and hygiene. Investment in marketing linkages would be greatly facilitated by supporting changes in the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee Act which would allow private markets to develop," he pointed out.
The Prime Minister laid a lot of emphasis on the role of agricultural research, pointing out that it has "special significance for the country as a whole and for Punjab in particular."
"We aim to increase our expenditure on agriculture research to 1 per cent of agricultural GDP in the 12th Plan from the level of 0.65 per cent in the 11th Plan," he said.
He also said the 12th Plan has targeted