Observing that few States are shouldering the burden of feeding the entire country, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Monday asked under-performing States to “introspect” and bridge "regional disparities" in farm output.
“In a country as vast as ours, the dependence on seven to eight States to feed the nation is not prudent, the regional disparity in production across various States needs to be addressed,” Mr. Pawar said here at an India Today conclave.
The Ministers noted that only few States are bearing the major burden of producing and supplying wheat and rice to the central pool. “There are hardly three or four States -Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh -which have taken major responsibility to produce wheat and practically our 85—90 per cent of the procurement (of wheat) is from Punjab, Haryana and UP.”
Similarly, about 80—85 per cent of rice are produced and procured mainly from Punjab, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Orissa, he added.
“Ultimately, if these six to seven States are going to produce wheat and rice and are going to cater for the entire country, I think we will have to give a serious thought about it,” Mr. Pawar explained.
The Minister sought equal accountability from all States to produce more to feed India’s vast population.
“The States not providing enough to the agriculture sector need to introspect and come forward to willingly shoulder their responsibility for ensuring a buoyant agriculture sector,” he said.