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PM calls for food security in India

May 30, 2007 11:11 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said rising inflation and slow response to rising demand for wheat, pulses, rice and edible oil have caused a sense of urgency for food security in the country.

Speaking at 53rd meeting of the National Development Council at the national capital, Singh pledged to work towards a rapid rise in the production of wheat, rice, pulses and edible oil so that prices can be kept under check and there is adequate supply of these to the common man.

The prime minister also expressed dismay over the import of certain essential items to ensure adequate supply saying the government will consider launching a 'Food Security Mission' for raising production of these items in three years.

Underscoring the importance of agriculture to our economy, the prime minister said reversing the prolonged slowdown in this sector is essential for our goals of inclusive growth, for ensuring that growth benefits all sections off society and all regions in the country.

He expressed concern over 'the rates of growth of agriculture

in the last decade have been poor and are a major cause of rural distress.'

Singh said farming is increasingly becoming an unviable proposition because of the nature of landholdings.

The prime minister noted lack of any breakthroughs in agricultural production technology in recent years. "There is a technology fatigue which we need to address," he pointed out.

Singh urged the states to focus on specific stratagies to improve the short term and medium term performance of this crucial sector, which still continues to support almost 2/3rd of our rural population.

"One of the key features of our agricultural scenario is the presence of substantial yield gaps in all states, there are gaps in the yields between states and regions," he said.

The prime minister noted that yield increase potentials vary from 40 per cent to 100 per cent. Increased production in the next three or four years can only come bridging this yield gap or expanding area as the scope for area expansion is extremely limited, "Hence, the need to focus on yield gap reduction," he added.

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