States advised to go for early sowing
The two-day 'National Conference on Agriculture For Rabi Campaign 2012' began here on Monday with the call to maximise Rabi production by making the best use of available soil moisture.
The Centre has advised States to go for early sowing of Rabi crops, especially in rainfed areas; this will help in using the moisture available in the soil due to wide-spread rains in August and September.
Inaugurating the Conference, Union Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Minister Sharad Pawar expressed the hope that with concerted efforts, it would be possible to compensate for the production loss suffered in Kharif due to erratic rainfall.
"The foodgrain target for 2012-13 is 249.52 million tonnes. There is no reason why we can't achieve it," he said.
The Agriculture Minister said that this Rabi will set the tone for the 12th Plan.
It will be possible to achieve the target of 4 pc growth in agriculture production during the 12th Plan, he said.
Elaborating further, the Minister said that various schemes under the Agriculture Ministry will be merged for their effective implementation.
The experience gained in the recent years in implementing major schemes such as RKVY, NFSM and the National Horticulture Mission will be used to make these schemes more productive, he said.
The Minister also called upon officers from different States and agricultural scientists to identify success stories in different aspects of agriculture. "These can then be spread so that farmers benefit by replicating these."
The Conference will come out with a detailed strategy for the coming Rabi season.
The Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) has come out with crop and area-specific recommendations for wheat and other winter crops.
These include use of high-yielding varieties, disease control and improved agronomic practices.
These will also be discussed during the Conference.
Special attention will be paid to maximising production of oilseeds and pulses.
Besides general discussion, a separate session will be held with 8 States specifically on these crops. The States are: Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Delhi.
Two other areas have been identified for focussed discussion: proper use of pesticides, and taking knowledge and technology to the farmer's field.
The Conference is being attended by senior officers of state agriculture departments, experts and representatives of the concerned ministries, and scientists from ICAR, other research institutes and crop directorates.
Ministers of State (MoSs) Harish Rawat and Charan Das Mahant also addressed the Conference.