The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Industry asked to tap farm potential

New Delhi, March 22 (PTI): Calling for the corporatisation of agriculture and asking the industry to view the sector as a “business proposition”, the Centre today said economic growth cannot be attained merely through manufacturing and services.

“Agriculture needs to be looked at as a business proposition and not merely an activity of farmers. There is a need to promote corporatisation of agriculture by encouraging greater industry-agriculture linkage,” finance secretary S. Narayan said here.

Addressing a select group of industrialists at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said the next revolution would be in value addition in agriculture, especially in food processing.

“It (next revolution) will be possible through stress on value addition, which should percolate to the grassroots level,” Narayan said.

Stressing that growth in India relied essentially on the development of the agricultural sector, he said with the share of agriculture in GDP pegged at around 24 per cent, “Economic growth cannot be attained merely on the basis of manufacturing and services sectors.”

Narayan said there was a need to focus on agriculture not only for GDP growth but also for pushing up aggregate demand.

Seeking a radical shift in the treatment of agriculture, he said right from the pre-production stage to post-harvest handling and processing, the entire gamut of agri-business activities has to be treated as “an integrated whole and not separately”.

Investment in irrigation and water-shed development in dry land areas should be given priority to reduce dependency of agriculture on rains, Narayan said.

PHDCCI president P.K. Jain said there was a general feeling that the implementation schedule and the roadmap for acheiving the panch priorities, enshrined in this year’s budget, “leaves a lot to be desired”.

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