Government is Committed to Higher Growth Rate in Agriculture: Minister
The Government is committed to higher growth rate in agriculture through sustainable development. A number of schemes have been initiated for this purpose which include soil health card scheme, â€˜Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojanaâ€™, through â€˜Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojanaâ€™; enhanced water efficiency through â€˜Per Drop More Cropâ€™. This was stated by Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister, Shri Radha Mohan singh while addressing Asian Seed Congress, in Goa today. He said that the Government has also taken up continued support to employment guarantee schemes, creation of a unified national agriculture market to boost the incomes of farmers.
Full text of Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare speech:
â€œI am very happy to be here on the occasion of inauguration session of the Asian Seed Congress, 2015 being organized by Asia and Pacific Seed Association. Itâ€™s a matter of great pleasure and privilege for us that APSA has chosen Goa as a venue for organizing this Seed Congress. This is very apt because India is now emerging as a big economic power and agriculture is one of the important sectors, which will substantially contribute to the growth of our economy.
It is well known that agriculture production and productivity is mainly dependent on quality seeds and organizing such an event would definitely help in increasing availability of quality seeds at regional, national and global level. The seed sector not only helps in improving the production and productivity of agriculture crops but it also helps in generating employments and growth of allied sectors like dairying, animal husbandry, fisheries, poultry, etc.
Agriculture is the focus sector for the Government the Hon. PM has given the clarion call on the need to increase agricultural productivity with overall welfare of farmers, therefore Ministry has been renamed as Ministry of Agriculture and Farmersâ€™ Welfare with a view to develop a holistic approach. The Government is committed to higher growth rate in agriculture through sustainable development and has developed key schemes to address the natural resource management including soil health card scheme, â€˜Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojanaâ€™, through â€˜Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojanaâ€™; enhanced water efficiency through â€˜Per Drop More Cropâ€™ and continued support to employment guarantee schemes, creation of a unified national agriculture market to boost the incomes of farmers.
One of the important features of the seed sector in India is that it has equal and important role played by both public and private sectors. Organizing of such events not only provide business opportunities to the seed industries but also provides feedback and inputs researchers and scientists for initiating new research and technology to overcome those constraints for the welfare of the agrarian society.
The Indian agriculture sector has made commendable progress during the last four decades and from a food deficient country in sixties, today we have become a food sufficient country. Baring pulses and oilseeds, we are surplus in many food crops and are able to feed our growing population.
It is true that in some crops a yield plateau has been reached but this barrier can be broken by way of new and innovative technologies and also through an intensive agriculture extension effort. Seed is one of the key factors to increasing the production and productivity in agriculture crops and our efforts should be to invest more R&D in the seed sector for the development of new and better varieties which will not only have higher yield potential but will also have wider range of adaptability and resistance / tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. I applaud the efforts of the organizers to bring all such issues in the forefront for solution by policy makers, researchers and other stake holders of the Asia and Pacific countries.
It is a fact that well identified seed production area, professionally organized seed villages, and a vibrant private sector have made India a potential seed sourcing hub. All this would not have been possible without the policy support provided by Government of India, starting with the National Seed Production Programme, New Policy on Seed Development of 1988, which opened the gates for private sector participation in the seed business, to the National Seed Policy, 2002, opening up of FDI in seeds, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmerâ€™s Rights Act, 2001 and the Biodiversity Act, 2002 etc. The adequate availability of quality seeds is one way ensuring the enhanced agricultural production and other hand supporting the entrepreneurship for while also providing opportunities excess quantity of quality seed of elite varieties to be exported to earn foreign exchange.
The potential of the agriculture sector for rural rejuvenation cannot be neglected as about 60% of our countryâ€™s population depends on agriculture for livelihood. Studies have indicated that one percentage growth in agriculture sector is two to three times more effective in reducing poverty than one percentage growth in other sectors. Therefore, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare aims to achieve the rejuvenation of this sector for farmerâ€™s welfare. The government has been taking various initiatives to counter the challenges faced by farmers.
At present, the size of the domestic seed market is around Rs.15,000 crore, while Indiaâ€™s share in the world seed market is less than 12%. However, the National Seed Policy aims to increase our share in the global seed trade to 10% of by 2020. The new Policy on Seed Development of 1988 has opened the gates for private sector participation in the seed business, to the National Seed Policy, 2002, opening up of FDI in seeds and Indiaâ€™s participation in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) guarantees that quality of seeds that can also be exported with less hurdles.
The Indian seed market is rapidly growing, during the recent past and the hybrid seed market of vegetables has shown remarkable growth. We also give equal attention towards the development of high volume low price food, cereal crops, which are mainly handled by our public sector. Indian seed industry can become a major supplier of seed for the global markets. India has high potential for hybrid seed production with special reference to high value vegetable seeds at cheaper cost as compared to other countries, of its diverse agro-climatic zones, skilled/knowledge human resource and enterprise which offer opportunity for diverse seed production for export especially that of high value hand pollinated vegetables, field crops and flower seeds. Besides vegetables, the seeds of Hybrid corn, Hybrid paddy, Hybrid pearl millet and hybrid cotton have high potential for export in Asian and African countries. If any bottle neck or constrains are observed by the Seed Industry in achieving the enhanced target of quality seed production, they may bring such issues in to notice of my Ministry and we will try our best to resolve the issues, so that Indian seed industry of public and private sector may fulfill the domestic and international demand.
We are continuously attempting to streamline the seed quality regulatory framework, in order to make it predictable, transparent and progressive, I would like to assure that Government of India is making all out efforts to help seed sector grow more, both domestically and in the international arena. We are committed to see the growth of this sector in a transparent and sustainable manner at a much faster pace.
The APSA is certainly a great opportunity for all the stakeholders in seed sector to brainstorm and deliberate on how to create value to the farmers and the nations. As an international forum, it also provides a unique opportunity to resolve issues and address challenges and come out with action plans and recommendations to the Governments. I urge all the delegates and participants that for the next five days each one of us, should engage and come out with constructive plans to achieve our mission. I wish APSA 2015 all the very best and look forward to a great congress, which should set a new direction and contribute to the development of seed sector and agriculture.
I am sure that the Asian Seed Congress, Goa – 2015 will provide an effective platform for growth of seed business not only in Asia and Pacific regions but also across the continents at global levelsâ€.