Foodgrain demand to touch 280 million tonnes by 2020

The total demand for foodgrains is projected to touch 280 million tonnes by the year 2020-21, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi today.

Prime Minister Manmohan SinghSpeaking at the 83  foundation day of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in New Delhi today, Dr Singh said meeting this demand will necessitate a growth rate of nearly 2 per cent per annum in food production.

"The enormity of the task ahead is indicated by the fact that during the 10 year period 1997-98 to 2006-07, our foodgrain production grew at an average annual rate of only 1.00 per cent," and stressed the need for a second 'green revolution' to meet the mounting future domestic foodgrain demands."

He said foodgrain production has since regained the requisite momentum and the agriculture sector as a whole is set to grow at 3 per cent per annum during the Eleventh Plan, though there was no room to be compalcent.

"We must note that this is less than the targeted 4 per cent and a consequence in recent years has been unacceptable levels of food price inflation. I expect the Twelfth Plan to contain all measures that are required to accelerate our agricultural growth rate, " he said.

Stating that the country was spending about 0.6 per cent of its agriculture GDP on agricultural research and development, he said this needed to be enhanced by two or three times by 2020.

He said rainfed agriculture continues to play a very important role in the economy, contributing about 60 per cent of the cropped area and 45 per cent of the total agricultural produce.

"Rainfed areas contribute more than 80 per cent  of the pulses and oilseeds grown as well as a substantial part of horticulture and animal husbandry produce. The second Green Revolution, that I have been talking about must therefore explicitly embrace dryland farming."

Dr Singh said the country had achieved a record foodgrain production of 241 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year.

"Production of major crops has been at record levels in the year just over. An estimated total production of 241 million tonnes in 2010-11 was achieved because of record production of wheat, maize and pulses.

Oilseed production also set a new record," the PM said, while delivering speech at an ICAR function in New Delhi on Saturday.

The estimated 241 MT foodgrain production is higher by 5 MT as announced by the Agriculture Ministry in its third estimate. It is also higher by 23 MT as compared to previous crop year 2009-10.

(See: Full text of PM's address at 83rd foundation day of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research)