Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Food grain production in 2007-08 is estimated at a record level of 219.32 million tonnes as per the second advance estimate. This is higher than the 217.28 million tonnes for 2006-07.

This was stated by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at a National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign here on Tuesday.

Mr. Pawar said the rice production was estimated at 94.08 million tonnes, compared to 93.35 million tonnes the previous year. The production of coarse cereals was estimated at 36.09 million tonnes. The cotton production stood at 233.81 lakh bales in 2007-08, which, he termed a record.

For 4 p.c. growth

Pointing out that the government aimed at achieving 4 per cent growth in agriculture, Mr. Pawar said resource constraint would not be allowed to stand in the way of achieving this target. Necessary funds would be provided to States for all agricultural schemes.

The target for agricultural growth in the XI Plan was fixed at 4 per cent per annum. To achieve this target, action on several areas was required. This included bringing technology to farmers, improving efficiency of investments, increasing systems support and rationalising subsidy, besides protecting food security concerns and fostering inclusiveness through group approach by which the poor would get better access to land, credit and skill, Mr. Pawar said.

Directive to States

The Minister asked the State governments to work out an action plan for implementing the National Policy for Farmers, keeping in view the grass roots level requirements. On maximising kharif output, he asked the States to popularise hybrid rice technology through demonstrations and availability of quality seeds.