Pawar banks on PPP model for growth

New Delhi, May 29 | Updated: May 30 2007, 05:30am hrs
Concerned over the increasing demand-supply gap of farm products, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday asked states to prepare their own plans to raise productivity.

The state-specific agricultural plans should be prepared keeping in view the agro-climatic conditions, natural resource management and technology, he said at the National Development Council (NDC) meeting here.

Referring to demand-supply imbalance, the minister said food grain production growth rate has decelerated from above 2% in 1970s and 1980s to about one per cent, which was less than the population growth.

To raise farm productivity, he said states should also integrate efforts under various farm sector schemes and programmes like National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme, minor irrigation projects and other rural development works.

These efforts, he said, should be backed by an effective agricultural extension system, which should not only provide assistance to farmers on crop related activities but animal resources development as well.

Pawar also urged states to encourage public-private partnership (PPP) model and create enabling environment for better marketing of farm products. He emphasised amending the APMC Act, encouraging contract farming and reviving cooperative sector.

Pawar said efforts were needed to increase production of wheat, rice and pulses to meet the demand which was likely to shoot up by 25 million tonnes by the end of the Eleventh Plan (2012).

The government has setup various mission including National Horticulture Mission to support specific sectors of the farm sector. The government had also established the National Rainfed Area Authority and the National Fisheries Development Board.

Subject to agreement with the states, the Planning Commission could be directed to prepare the outline of a major programme for providing central support to states, which prepare localised plans.

The government also said that are institutional issues such as improving the quality of agricultural research and making it more relevant to the actual needs of different regions and reforming the cooperative system by implementing the Vaidyanathan Committee recommendations on the sector.