Agriculture sector may grow at 3.1% in 2019-20: NITI Aayog

Agriculture sector may grow at 3.1% in 2019-20: NITI Aayog
According to a NITI Aayog member, role of private sector in Indian agriculture sector has to come in a big way, there is a need of more investment in the sector

India’s agriculture sector growth for the current fiscal is expected to remain higher at 3.1 percent compared to 2.9 percent in FY19, NITI Aayog Member, Prof Ramesh Chand said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.

“Role of private sector in Indian agriculture sector has to come in a big way, I feel today we need more competition in agriculture, more investment and the face of agriculture from traditional to modern and movement of agriculture from present stage to higher evolution will not happen without active involvement of private sector,” said Prof Chand in his inaugural address at ASSOCHAM’s 2nd National Conference on Food Value Chain Partnerships.

He said, “Unless we increase corporate sector’s investment and involve them from seed and continuing it up to sale, it would be difficult to cause a breakthrough in growth of agriculture and doubling farmers’ income.”

Prof Chand also informed that NITI Aayog was trying to convince the central government to make up its mind in terms of Model Land Lease Act prepared.

On the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) Act and Agriculture Produce Contract Farming Act, he said, “I think we need to persuade the states, we are already trying to do it that those two acts are adopted by the states.”

Stating that there is a big knowledge gap in the area of food value chain, the NITI Aayog Member said, “Without bringing agriculture into picture and value chain kind of things, it will be very difficult to create more jobs in future. Agriculture is coming back into the development agenda. Food value chain is one very-very important element for economic development of emerging economies.”

In his keynote address, Dr Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority said, “To avoid food wastage, we need to build an infrastructure to store what we cannot consume.”

Speaking on the occasion, Dr BN Srinivasa Murthy, horticulture commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare said, “We can easily compete with any western country in food value chain partnerships if we focus on micro-level products like coconut, honey, wine and more.”

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) representative in India, Rene Van Berkel said that to move forward in the food value chain partnerships, we need to focus prominently on the area of food processing.

Deepak Bagla, CEO, Invest India in his address said that there was no way India can reach the $5 trillion economy goal without an agricultural revolution.

Sagar Kaushik, Global COO, UPL said that the value our farmers are producing is the second largest in the world.

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