The Union agriculture ministry plans to invite private investment in its project to promote hybrid rice to increase output, particularly in eastern states.Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar announced the formation of a central-level task force to push the hybrid rice variety in the country.
The task force will specifically the look at the public-private-partnership mode of seed production, procurement and marketing.
"Seed production of hybrid rice will have to be planned and implemented with active association of state agricultural universities and public and private sector seed-producing companies to meet the needs of the farmers," he said at a workshop on Bringing Green Revolution to (the) Eastern Region here today.
There was an intention to adopt the Chinese model for hybrid rice production here, Pawar said, and a team from his ministry had already visited the neighbouring country. "We need to look at the Chinese model and take corrective measures," he added.
While India's average annual rice production per hectare was 3.3 tonnes, China averaged about 6.6 tonnes per hectare, Pawar said.
However, he emphasised that the price and the quality of hybrid seeds would have to be controlled. "We will have to ensure that the seeds are available at reasonable rates. The government will have to provide some support to the farmer for pricing," he added.
Meanwhile, the Centre has allocated Rs 400 crore to increase agricultural production in eastern states, including West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.
"We feel there is potential here and, if proper guidance, prices and storage facilities are provided, there will be substantial improvement in two-three years," Pawar said.
On his part, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who delivered the keynote address at the event, said it was imperative that production and procurement of foodgrain was improved.