Union Agriculture and Food Processing Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday expressed confidence that agriculture sector would deliver an average of four percent growth in the 12th Plan as compared to 3.3 percent in the current plan.
"We achieved an average growth rate of 3.3 percent in the agriculture sector during the 11th Plan, better than that achieved during 9th Plan (2.5 percent) and 10th Plan (2.4 per cent). Our endeavour in the 12th Plan would be to consolidate the gains and gear up to enhance the growth rate to 4 percent," said Pawar.
"We recognize this challenge and will do all that is necessary to improve the required level of Gross Capital Formation in agriculture. Already, the GCF has shown an improvement from 13.1 percent in 1999-2000 to 20.1 percent in 2010-11 at 2004-2005 prices. This momentum needs to be maintained," he added.
Pawar stated that full advantage will be taken of high moisture content in soil to maximise crop production in the coming rabi season.
Pawar, who was speaking at the Economic Editors Conference here, said that despite erratic monsoon this year there has been only marginal decline in the production of various crops as compared to last year, which was a year of record production.
Pawar also supported FDI in agriculture sector.
"Recognizing the need to step up investment in the agriculture sector, FDI is welcome for development of seed, post harvest management infrastructure and now in multi-brand retail trading (MBRT), subject to setting up the back-end infrastructure. This should benefit all stakeholders across the entire value and supply chain," said Pawar.
"Farmers will gain on at least two counts: significant reduction in post-harvest losses, and better prices. Consumers will gain from lower prices, greater choice, and higher quality," he added.
Pawar also informed that a National Mission of Food Processing has been launched to invigorate the food-processing sector.
This Mission comprises some of the ongoing schemes of the Ministry , with the additioion of new components, drawing upon the successes seen in schemes such as RKVY where states' involvement and ownership have added vigour to planning and implementation of various schemes.
The National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) which has come up on the outskirts of Delhi at Kundli, Sonepat, is designed and tasked to provide one stop solutions for the issues pertaining to food processing sector, including addressing capacity building needs. The Institute has been granted "Deemed University" status. (ANI)