Record foograin output, but need to produce more

New Delhi: Announcing a record foodgrain production at 241 million tonnes (MT) in 2010-11, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the country still needs to produce more to meet the rising demand, besides controlling high food prices.

The overall growth of agriculture is likely to be 3 per cent during the 11th Five year Plan (2007-2012), which is less than the targeted 4 per cent, he said.

"Although foodgrain production has since (after 2006-07) regained the requisite momentum and the agriculture sector as a whole is set to grow at 3 per cent per annum during the 11th Plan, we cannot be complacent.

"We must note that this is less than the targeted 4 per cent and a consequence in recent years has been unacceptable levels of food price inflation. I expect the 12th Plan to contain all measures that are required to accelerate our agricultural growth rate," he said, while delivering foundation day lecture of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

The foodgrain production in 2010-11 crop year (July-June) at 241 MT is higher by 5 MT than the forecast made in April and 23 MT more as compared to the previous year.

"An estimated production of 241 MT was achieved because of record production of wheat, maize and pulses," Singh said

He, however, said the challenges that the agriculture sector faces in the coming years "remain large".

Pointing out that the country is still facing problem of under-nutrition and dependent on imports of pulses and edible oils, Singh said: "We clearly need a second Green Revolution, that is broad-based, inclusive and sustainable. We need to produce more".

The Prime Minister noted that foodgrains demand is projected at about 280 MT by 2020-21 and to meet this requirement, the foodgrains output needs to grow by 2 per cent annually, which he termed as "enormous task".