‘Declining crop area has potential to cause food inflation’

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan today said declining area under crops has the potential to cause food inflation and hit farm output and employability in the agriculture sector.
“Now we are witnessing different types of changes which are taking place in agriculture system. Industrialisation, rapid urbanisation and related demand for housing and infrastructure is causing demography shift from rural to urban areas.
This necessitates a change in infrastructure in relation to movement of workers and goods which have important consequences for the society in general and more so for agricultural sector.
As a result, the area under crop is declining. It entails serious consequence for output and employability in agricultural sector and has the potentiality to cause food inflation,” Mahajan said while addressing the inaugural session of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) workshop here in Punjab Vidhan Sabha today.
A three-day CPA’s agricultural workshop is being held here for Chairpersons and members of Parliamentary Agriculture Committees for India, Asia and South East Asia Regions.
Lok Sabha Speaker stated that diversion of land from agriculture to non-agricultural purposes is critical in a ‘fast growing’ and ‘land scarce’ economy while pitching for development of agro-based industries, food processing units, proper storage facilities in the country.
Stating that India has taken several measures for sustainable development of agriculture sector by providing concessions and incentives, increasing investment and improving farm practice, Mahajan said that the Centre would bring a national land use policy for sustainable development of the country.
“Our government is on the path of putting in place a national land use policy so that land use changes, if any, are not detrimental to the sustainable development of India. We also plan to incentivise setting up of food processing industries, have integrated post harvesting management cold storages,” she said.
She further said that keeping in the best interest of farmers, farming sector in the country was being provided timely and adequate credit at reasonable interest rates.
“This (credit) is available in some states at lowest possible rates. In some states like in Madya Pradesh, they are trying to have zero per cent (for farmers),” she said.
Referring to WTO, Mahajan said, “India has taken a consistent position on issues pertaining to livelihood, food security and rural development which are of vial important to interest of poor farmers and other people.” (PTI)


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