India's farm sector grows at 3.2 per cent in first 4 years of 11th Plan

Agriculture and allied sectors in the country have grown at an annual average rate of 3.2 per cent during the first four years of the 11th five-year plan, ie, 2007-08 to 2010-11, against the targeted 4 per cent for the whole Plan period.

The shortfall in projected output has been attributed to severe drought conditions in most parts of the country during 2009-10 and drought/deficient rainfall in some states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, East UP and West Bengal in 2010-11.

However, low level of investment in agriculture sector is also one of the underlying factors for slow growth, according to minister of state for agriculture and food processing industries Harish Rawat.

However, the minister said, investment in agriculture and allied sectors as a percentage of the agriculture sector gross domestic product (GDP) increased to 20.3 per cent in 2009-10 (at constant prices) from 13.5 per cent in 2004-05.

The annual plan allocation for the agriculture sector has increased to Rs17,122.87 crore in 2011-12 (budget estimates) from Rs7,058.50 crore in 2007-08 (actual). Further, the flow of agricultural credit has also increased considerably and is targeted to rise to Rs4,75,000 crore in 2011-12.

Besides, the government has increased the minimum support prices of crops. Several schemes are also being implemented with a view to increase public investment in agriculture and allied sectors so as to increase farm growth rate in the country, the minister stated in a written reply.