Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said there is no need to encourage foreign direct investment in the farm sector as large number of farmers have small holdings, but welcomed FDI in the food processing sector.
"FDI in agriculture is not required. We have about 82-86 per cent farmers whose holding is below two hectares. So that type of situation is there, where holding is small. I do not think, we should think to encourage FDI in the agriculture sector," Pawar told reporters here on the sidelines of annual general meeting of Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
"I can understand FDI in the agro-processing sector ... there it is welcomed. We will welcome FDI in cold chains and agro processing units but not in farming," he added.
On the outlook of current Rabi crops, Pawar said the situation is quite encouraging and the country would have a bumper production of wheat, pulses and sugarcane.
"Area under wheat is more than the last year's. In fact, last year it was a record production and this year it will be better than last year," the minister said.
Asked whether the government would achieve the wheat production target of 82 million tonnes in 2010-11 crop year (July-June), Pawar said there should not be any problem in achieving the target as crop condition was good and area was also more this year compared with last year.
"Another achievement is that the area under pulses has substantially increased and we are expecting a good production this year. Area under sugarcane has also grown and we are expecting more sugarcane crop this year," he noted.
On Budget wishlist from the agriculture ministry, Pawar said: "Its too early to talk about Budget. I had a detailed discussion with the finance minister. Let us see what would be the outcome".