Need to utilise all resources properly emphasised
G. Chandrashekar, consultant, The Hindu Business Line , said that there was enormous scope for growth in the country’s agricultural sector, and if the potential was properly utilised the economic growth of the country could be substantially increased in the coming years.
Speaking at a seminar on ‘Agribusiness and commodities price risk management’, organised jointly by The Hindu Business Line , the Forward Markets Commission, the National Commodities Derivatives Exchange (NCDEX), the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Bangalore, and the District Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Monday, Mr. Chandrashekar said that although India was the highest producer of milk, and the second highest producer of wheat, rice, sugar, cotton and vegetables in the world, policy-makers had failed to link it with economic growth.
Besides, the per capita availability of these products was very low. Expressing concern over the failure to attain the expected economic development owing to population explosion and decrease in the export of commodities, he said that at present the country’s population stood at 120 crore and another two crore would be added to it in the next two years.
There was a considerable increase in imports, but the quantity of exports was not increasing. Substantial reduction in investment was among the factors that had prevented the country from achieving the expected economic growth. Countries like China and the U.S. were exporting a large number of commodities and, thereby, they had achieved economic stability.
The foreign exchange reserves of China were eight times more than that of India. Our country had vast natural resources and manpower, apart from intellectual power. All these factors should be utilised properly to stay ahead of other countries, he said.
More than 53 per cent of our population was below 25 years of age, and one-third of the population was below 15 years, he said and added that it was time that the huge youth force was utilised to achieve all-round development. Demand for housing would continue to grow for at least the next 30 years. At present, the country was facing a shortage of five crore dwelling units, he said.
The Indian market was gradually integrating with the global market and, therefore, stakeholders needed to have a global view of the market. Because of price volatility, risk perception was high. Price discovery of a commodity, price risk management, insurance against adverse price variations and locks in profit margin were some of the crucial aspects that one needed know in the present global market scenario, he said.
B. Jayaram Reddy, Deputy General Manager, Canara Bank, in his address, said that the bank was giving priority to farm loans. He said that the bank was providing financial assistance to farmers for installation of pump sets, minor irrigation and lift irrigation, apart from dairying, piggery, sheep and goat rearing, duck rearing, beekeeping and setting up biogas plants, tissue culture, sericulture, farm mechanisation and commercial horticulture.
He appealed to farmers to make use of the facilities and attain economic stability, which would contribute to the country’s progress indirectly.
T. Bhanu, veteran journalist, spoke.
After the seminar, Mr. Chandrashekar answered a volley of questions from the audience during an interactive session.