President Pranab Mukherjee said the country can achieve the targeted 4 per cent growth in the agriculture sector during the 12th Plan period with the help of better seeds, improved water management practice and balanced use of fertilisers and pesticides, among others.
Stating that agriculture is a "challenging" sector, the President said the government should create employment opportunities in other sectors in order to reduce dependence of rural families on agriculture for livelihood. "We can meet the 12th Plan period (2012-17) agricultural growth target of 4 per cent per annum only through measures such as crop diversification , developing high yielding disease resistant seeds, improvement in water management practices, promotion of balanced use of fertilisers and pesticides," he said.
The growth of agriculture and allied sectors during the 11th Plan period (2007-12) stood at 3.3 per cent. That apart, he said, better and increased use of satellite communication for weather forecast and effective information dissemination to farmers would prevent crop failure. Mukherjee emphasised that farmers need government support for upscaling themselves and "engaging in agriculture for subsistence to taking up agriculture as a commercial venture".
"Government would simultaneously need to focus on creation of employment opportunities in other sectors to provide income diversification to rural families who today are dependent for their livelihood solely on unviable land holdings," he said. Mukherjee said it was essential to create infrastructure in rural areas in the form of all-season roads, multi-mode transportation, quality power supply, transparent markets, thriving financial institutions for better return to farmers.
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