The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Survey with policy in mind

Calcutta, July 3: The government has undertaken a survey of agricultural land to identify the exact areas occupied by different crops.

The figures were needed to implement the new farm policy, agriculture minister Kamal Guha said at Writers’ Buildings today. “We need to find out exactly how much suitable land we have to produce crops like pulses and mustard and how much we have for paddy. We want farmers to get a good price for their crops and for that we have to distribute the crops in a particular pattern,” he said.

A meeting will be held with finance minister Asim Dasgupta on July 31 to discuss the expenditure for the survey.

“Farmers are traditionally conservative. If a farmer has to shift from his traditional crop pattern and sow something else, he will hesitate. We will have to educate them on new seeds and new kinds of fertilisers. For this, the government needs to play a pro-active role and supply the farmers with new high-yielding seeds and fertilisers….

“The government will have to progress slowly in this trial run and the farmers will have to be given at least two years’ time to adjust to the new scenario. So there will be some expenditure on which the finance department will have to assure us,” the minister added.

Guha, also the Forward Bloc chairman, had earlier opposed a draft agriculture policy — drawn up by industry minister Nirupam Sen — that had borrowed heavily from recommendations by global consultant McKinsey. The chief minister then entrusted Guha with the job and, after discussions among agriculture and allied departments, the policy was finalised early this year.

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