Report on farm sector calls for focus on investment, sustainable technology and marketing

A government report on the `State of Indian agriculture' has called for increased public sector investment in research and effective transfer of technology along with institutional reforms in research set-up to make it more accountable and geared towards delivery.

Conservation of land, water and biological resources, development of rainfed agriculture, development of minor irrigation, timely and adequate availability of inputs, support for marketing infrastructure and increasing flow of credit, particularly to the small and marginal farmers, are the thrust areas for the agriculture sector, according to the report.

Despite the fall in the contribution of agriculture to the overall gross domestic product (GDP) of the country to 13.9 per cent, the report points out that agriculture supports 52 per cent of the country's working population and is hence the backbone of development and is key to food security and inclusive growth.

The report, placed in the Rajya Sabha today, calls for wide-ranging reforms in agriculture sector to enable it to meet the growing demands and meet the challenges posed by various human and environmental factors.

The report highlights some of the major steps taken by the government in recent years for improving crop production and productivity. The report specially highlights the contribution made by the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) towards increasing public investment in agriculture and allied sectors as also the contributions of National Food Security Mission (NFSM) and the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) as path breaking interventions which have helped in achieving record production of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, fruits, vegetables and spices during the last two years.

The report says a Green Revolution is being brought about in Eastern India through improvements in cropping system, mainly rice, wheat, maize and pulses through promotion of innovative production technologies and agronomical practices suitable for different agro-climatic sub regions.