Making a strong pitch for giving greater attention to the farm sector, noted agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan said in the Rajya Sabha on Monday that agriculture sector, which provides livelihood to a population of 70 crore, needs more attention.

He rued that irrigation, which is vital for cultivation, is gradually losing importance as far as allocation is concerned and pointed out the declining contribution of the farm sector to GDP.

Mr. Swaminathan welcomed Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana in the budget saying that it was for the first time that a reference was made about women farmers.

Maintaining that the economics of farming is going from bad to worse, he said it is important to ensure that farmers get reasonable margin of profit over their production cost.

Quoting a National Sample Survey report, he said there is need to attract youths towards farming as 40 per cent of farmers want to leave farming. He suggested that government should provide incentives to encourage cooperative farming.

Mr. Swaminathan underlined the need to set up Food Parks in all colleges teaching home science saying that the Mega Food Parks only cater to 10 per cent of the people.

He said most of the credit flow for agriculture is going to agriculture-based industries but not to farmers.