New Delhi, Sep 8: Minister for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Sharad Pawar on Saturday narrated the progress of Indian agriculture sector in the recent past and offered to share its experience with ASEAN nations.
“We have not only achieved self sufficiency in food, but have also done extremely well in horticulture dairying ,milk production, fisheries , post harvest management and development of cold chain infrastructure. We now produce over 260 MT of cereals, 160 MT of horticulture produce, 133 MT of milk, 350 lakh bales of cotton, 24 MT of sugar besides spices, etc.,” said Pawar.
“We have followed the Mission approach to address issues of production, productivity and post harvest management in many crops,” he added.
Pawar, who was speaking at the third ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture at Kuala Lumpur, said our Agriculture Research System in the form of Indian Council of Agriculture Research is one of the largest in the world.
“When you visit India next year for the fourth Inter Ministerial, I hope that you and your delegation members can see for yourself the significant strides that have been achieved during the last few years. It is our belief that while economic growth is good, growth in agriculture is the best for it brings equity, equality and spread of resources to the largest sections of society,” he added.
Pawar said it is a matter of great satisfaction that the food basket of my country has been diversified with increasing share coming from relatively under developed regions.
“From Andaman Nicobar islands to Kashmir and Lakshadweep to North Eastern States, India have very diverse topography with rainfall ranging from as low as 50 mm per year to 12000 mm. Not only we have been able to meet the demand of 17 percent of global population residing in India, but have also exported nearly 20 million tonnes of food grains, thus, becoming a major contributor to the world food basket. Thanks to the liberal import-export policy, India could earn 40 billion dollars through the exports of agriculture produce,” said Pawar.
“The satisfactory production of food grains helped us to roll out Food Security Act in Sep mber, 2013 which gives legal guarantee to more than 800 million populations of food grains at affordable prices. We take pride in mentioning that this is world’s largest social sector programme,” he added.
Pawar expressed his desire to see the present cooperation and collaboration between the ASEAN and India strengthen further, especially in the area of capacity building, collaborative research programmes and efficient management of resources for increased production and productivity in agriculture.
“We shall be happy to share our successes and experiences in the field of agriculture and forestry with ASEAN countries,” he said.
Pawar invited ASEAN agriculture ministers to India for the fourth ministerial meeting, to be held next year in New Delhi. (ANI)