India's agriculture sector has the potential to grow at 5 per cent per annum from the present growth rate which varies from 3.6 to 4 per cent per annum, noted agriculturist Dr Ashok Gulati said on Monday.
"Indian agriculture has the potential to grow at 5 per cent per annum in the present context against which the present growth rate varies from 3.6 per cent to 4 per cent per annum in real terms," Gulati said while addressing the Odisha Knowledge Hub (OKH) lecture series in Bhubaneshwar.
While elaborating the link between agriculture growth and poverty reduction in national and international contexts, Gulati said higher growth rate in agriculture leads to faster rate of poverty reduction.
Comparing the nation's economy with a pyramid, he suggested putting the agriculture sector at the base, manufacturing at the middle and the services sector at the top. Such an approach, he maintained, would lead to sustainable development.
Though agriculture is a state subject, the Central government needs to trigger and engineer the reform agenda in the sector, he said.
Gulati cited the example of the impact of the centrally engineered Green and White Revolutions on the Indian economy and advocated a centrally sponsored active agenda for reform in this basic sector of the economy that caters for food and nutrition security.
For Odisha, Gulati pointed out that frequent natural calamities and erratic rains are the main factors responsible for slow agricultural growth rate.
He suggested a focus on infrastructure development like irrigation, rural roads, more electricity to the agriculture sector and establishment of a value chain for cereal and fruit products in the state for achieving a higher growth rate in agriculture.
The lecture series is being conducted in Odisha to update state functionaries with newly emerging ideas and best practices at the national and international levels in the matters of public policy and developmental administration.
State finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat, agriculture minister Pradeep Maharathy, panchayati raj minister Arun Kumar Sahoo, information technology minister Pranab Prakash Das, planning and convergence minister Usha Devi, and ST and SC development minister Lal Bihari Himirika were among those who attended the lecture.