Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said farm mechanization has to be given primacy to meet the projected demand of 280 million tonnes of foodgrains by 2020.
Speaking at the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on farm mechanization, Pawar said: "In order to attain the projected demand of 280 million tonnes of food grains by the year 2020-21, farm power availability in the country has to be scaled up to at least 2.0 Kw/ha by the end of XIIth Plan. For achieving this, farm mechanization has to be given primacy."
He said that "Indian agriculture is dominated by small and marginal farmers, with small land holdings and weak economic status, which renders single ownership of many high-value agricultural machinery and equipments such as tractors economically unviable.
"Though we are witnessing considerable progress in farm mechanization, its spread across the length and breadth of our country still remains uneven. Our farm power availability is much lower as compared to many other countries such as Korea, Japan and USA," he added.
Asserting that Agriculture Ministry is already promoting farm mechanization through various schemes and programmes, Pawar further said: "In order to lay special emphasis on farm mechanization and to bring more inclusiveness, we have proposed a dedicated Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization for the XIIth Plan.
"This not only includes the traditional components of testing and demonstration of agricultural machinery and subsidy on purchase but also includes- Custom Hiring facilities," he added
The Union Minister said that the farmers have an enormous task of feeding millions of people. In past few years the farm sector has emerged as one of the most vibrant sectors of Indian economy. Today also, despite conditions, the country's granaries are full and the food grain supply is completely assured.
In this regard he added, "Demand of food grains is bound to increase rapidly. We have to continue to put more emphasis on enhancing agricultural production and productivity for ensuring food and nutritional security of our nation."
Pawar further said, "We have to ensure sustainable agricultural growth against the backdrop of limited availability of natural resources especially cultivable land. Increase in agricultural production would have to come mainly from enhancement in farm productivity in the existing cultivated area. This productivity increase, in turn, can be realized by increasing land and labour efficiency in agriculture through farm mechanization." (ANI)