New Delhi, Sep 26 (IANS) The 12th Five Year Plan will stress on the viability of small farms and offer new schemes for sustainable agriculture, Planning Commission member Abhijit Sen said here.
Sen said the government intends to launch a new technology mission combining agricultural research and extension systems.
The Planning Commission member was speaking at a meeting on the Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2012. He said the viability of the small farm economy was the most important pillar of agriculure in the country.
India is ranked 66th in GFSI – a scoring tool that measures the drivers of food security in 105 countries.
Sen raised questions over India’s ranking and said the country had done badly in nutrition but not too badly in many other parameters of food security.
“Indices like this (make) a person like me curious, why we are 66th,” Sen said.
He said the government has focused on malnutrition through initiatives such as the Integrated Child Development Scheme, but the programme has not met the desired objectives.
Sen said the 12th Plan would be different from the 11th Plan in terms of the focus on the small farm economy. The plan would create a format which would improve the ability of the government to work with farmers.
Sen said that there was recognition that the country could no longer ignore the message about climate change, and the government was working on a new scheme for sustainable agriculture.
“What form (the scheme will take) is yet to be ironed out,” Sen said.
He said the government intends to reduce the number of its schemes both in agriculture and animal husbandry.
Sen said the country has the largest agricultural research and extension networks and a new technology mission will seek to “marry” the two systems.
James C. Borel, executive vice-president, DuPont, said there was pressing need for science-based solutions to feed a rapidly growing population. He said DuPont was carrying out innovations to help feed the world and it would have 4,000 new products by the end of 2020.
Terming GFSI as “neutral”, he said it will generate local insights and stimulate action to feed an increasing population.
Salil Singhal, co-chairman, CII National Council on Agriculture, said India’s farm produce suffered from low productivity and considerable post-harvest losses.
He said regulations concerning food supply chain were “archaic”.
The Global Food Security Index (GFSI), developed by Economist Intelligence Unit, aims at deepening the dialogue on issues related to food security.
The index provides a framework to assess food security across conventional dimensions such as affordability, availability and utilisation in terms of safety and quality. It is envisaged to be useful as a warning against potential price shocks.