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India to be world's top food producer
November 29, 2005 20:45 IST
Once a food deficit economy, India is poised to become the leading food nation of the world, thanks to a number of governmental initiatives and investment opportunities across various areas of agriculture.
This is not a private perception, but the assessment of the Indian government.
Voicing this view, agriculture secretary Radha Singh said India was rising high on the food demand curve.
"We have gone beyond the level of surviving," Radha Singh said while addressing a session at the ongoing 'India Economic Summit 2005,' organised jointly by the World Economic Forum and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
She said: India was the fourth largest economy in the world and with an annual average growth rate of 6.3 per cent, it was among the fastest-growing economies of the world. But above all, there are formidable production advantages, India having been blessed with diverse agro climatic regions.
The other advantages include -- the large research manpower pool, large marketable surpluses and abundant raw material for agri business. There was also a huge growing market and consumption was expected to increase at 7.8 per cent.
Nevertheless, Radha Singh said there were daunting challenges facing the agricultural sector, which include low levels of productivity, infrastructure and investment.
The linkages between research and extension were weak, there was low seed replacements and imbalanced use of fertilisers. Limited access to credit, insufficient risk cover and quarantine and SPS infrastructure were other inadequacies of the system, she said.
The UPA government, Radha Singh said, was playing the role of facilitator of private investment by plugging gaps in critical infrastructure, and a partner and investor. It was engaged in the onerous task of improving the environment for investment.As much as Rs 15,000 crore (Rs 150 billion) is proposed to be spent in the perishable sector as well as the backward and forward linkages in horticulture.
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