PM for scaling up growth in agriculture sector

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the agriculture sector is likely to achieve about 3.5 per cent annual growth in the 11th Five-Year Plan, but stressed on scaling it up to 4 per cent or more in the next Plan (2012-17).

Addressing the Golden Jubilee Convocation of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) here, Singh said the government is committed to at least double the spending on research and development in the farm sector by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan from the existing level of about one per cent of gross domestic produce (GDP).

"It now looks as if agricultural growth is likely to be about 3.5 per cent per annum during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12), which is much better than in the 10th Plan. This is a commendable achievement but we must improve upon it in the 12th Plan to reach 4 per cent or even higher," the Prime Minister said.

The agriculture sector remained sluggish during the 10th Plan period achieving merely 2.5 per cent expansion. Singh emphasised that a determined effort is needed by both central and state governments to achieve the higher growth.

Stating that farm research is key element to achieve higher expansion, he said the agricultural research system needs to be strengthened to meet the future challenges. "One requirement is the financial resources. Our government is committed to raising research and development spending as a whole to at least 2 per cent of the GDP by the end of the 12th Plan from the current level of about 1 per cent," he said.