PPPs, innovations and tech key to farming sector
The Dollar Business Bureau Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Friday said that a substantial increase in productivity is the only answer to achieve food security in an efficient and sustainable manner. Speaking at the inauguration of India Seed Congress-2015 held at Agra, the Union Minister called for the adoption of appropriate technologies in the agriculture sector to overcome issues like droughts, floods, salinity, biotic and other abiotic stresses, among others. The Minister said that newer technologies like herbicide tolerance, drought tolerance, nitrogen use efficiency, and nutrition enhancement, when introduced commercially in India, will substantially increase productivity leading to greater farmer incomes and farmer well-being. The Union Minister further called for the active role of PPPs in introducing innovations and technologies to the farmers. Singh hailed the co-operation between the private and public sector units in this direction and called for the promotion of the PPP policy in the agricultural sector on a larger scale. Singh went to say that technology benefits should favour all the stakeholders and faster technology diffusion will happen only with the rational regime in technology pricing and licensing. In this regard, the Minister called for genetic engineering, as a need of the hour to address challenges in agricultural sector. Referring to the usage of BT cotton sides across various Indian States, Singh emphasized that superior genetics encapsulated in seeds will break the yield barriers and ensure huge production. By doing all these, the Minister said, India will definitely assure a substantial increase in production. India’s agricultural exports have grown at a rate of over 21% in the last decade (2003-2013) helped by government support and a changing export matrix, says the report by the US Department of Agriculture. Overall, India agricultural exports have grown almost eight times in the last decade, from around $5 billion in 2003 to over $39 billion in 2013, and the momentum is likely to continue this year. India’s rapid growth overshadows the growth rate of 15% recorded by Brazil, 12% by China and 9% by USA in the sector in the last ten years. Last year, India overtook Australia to become the world’s seventh largest exporter of agricultural products (up from the 13th position in 2003), and in terms of net exports, India is now the world’s sixth-largest net exporter of agricultural products, with net exports almost double those of the EU-28.
This article was published on February 13, 2015.