Appropriate policies are needed to ensure accelerated and inclusive agricultural growth, the Chairman of Special Cell on Land Policies in NITI Aayog, T Haque, said.
India’s agricultural sector is ailing for quite some years now and the targeted 4 per cent annual agricultural growth rate in the 10th, 11th and 12th Five Year plans was not achieved, Haque said while delivering the 10th Verghese Kurien Foundation Day Lecture at KIIT School of Rural Management (KSRM) in Bhubaneswar Saturday.
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Accelerated and diversified growth by itself can result in inclusive growth, by way of improving farm income and reducing poverty as well as farm distress, he opined. Pointing to the employment and income diversification in rural India, he said the average farm income remains low and consequently farmers in general continue to be in a distressed situation.
So the small and marginal farmers will require to access both farm and non-farm incomes in an accelerated manner to overcome poverty and distress. Haque said there are numerous challenges for Indian farmers in the way to improve incomes and overcome distress.
Hence the present pace and patterns of horizontal and vertical diversification would not suffice, he observed adding inclusive growth would require region and class-specific strategies of growth.
Haque also advocated appropriate policies for accelerated and inclusive agricultural growth, which would include strengthening the R & D System to innovate cost effective technologies, providing incentives to farmers for adoption of organic farming, ensuring adequate price and marketing support, improving access to institutional credit, designing and implementing a comprehensive and farmer friendly agricultural scheme, etc.