PM cautions against over-use of ground water for rice cultivation
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed concern at the over-use of ground water for rice cultivation in Punjab and stressed the need for 'diversification' from rice cultivation to other products.
He said the centre aimed at increasing the expenditure on agriculture research to one per cent of agricultural GDP in the 12th Five-Year Plan from 0.65 per cent in the 11th Plan.
In his address at the Golden Jubilee Convocation of the Punjab Agricultural University here, he said the 12th Plan had targeted for the country as a whole an average of 8.2 per cent growth in GDP and four per cent growth in agriculture.
Cautioning against over-use of ground water which was fast depleting, Dr Singh stressed the need for diversifying from rice cultivation to production of maize, cotton, sugarcane, pulses, oilseeds, particularly soyabean, fruits and vegetables.
"The future is rarely a linear extrapolation of the past. Circumstances change and new challenges arise. It is therefore important to identify the challenges of the emerging future and start working right now to meet those challenges. It is evident that several stress points have emerged in Punjab's agriculture which need to be addressed," he said.