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Pres for coherent agro policy to ensure food security

Posted on Nov 28, 11:23AM | UNI

Calling for a rethink on agriculture in India, President Pranab Mukherjee today stressed the need for a coherent and comprehensive policy for agriculture to ensure food security in India.

Speaking after inaugurating the international conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food and Livelihood Security at the Punjab Agricultural University here, the President said, "We need to do an urgent rethink on agriculture. We must have in place a coherent and comprehensive policy that has synergy among its various elements.

"Government initiatives are of little use without efficient systems for their implementation. Similarly, collaboration between the Centre and state governments is important for appraisal of various schemes." Addressing the inaugural session of the conference, being held as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the PAU, the President called for a reflection on why, despite the country's overall improved economic performance, the economic viability of the agriculture sector remained a challenge.

"Despite various programmes and schemes of the government, small and subsistence farmers remain susceptible to failure and desperation," he expressed concern.

It is ironical that although India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, value addition to this produce at farm level is negligible, the President lamented.

More than 25 per cent of production is lost during harvest and post harvest operations, he said, adding that the country imports a large amount of pulses consumed.

Calling for swift action in this regard, he suggested ways to boost the sector, including agriculture marketing reforms, harvesting wastelands, addressing overuse of fertilisers, developing user-friendly IT tools for farmers and providing them timely information about weather forecast.