Gadkari for changing crop pattern

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Chennai, Aug 7 (PTI): Flagging a glut in rice, wheat and sugarcane in the market, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said there was a need for change in crop pattern.

The water resources minister also said though the Centre’s decision to offer minimum support price (MSP) for the kharif crops equivalent to 1.5 times the input cost was a “very difficult task”, the NDA government was committed to implementing it.

Gadkari was speaking at the inauguration of a three-day seminar on “International Consultation on Water: Augmentation of Supply and Management of Demand” organised by the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation here.

“…Today water is not a problem, but its management is. The problem is about agriculture cost too. We have to change the cropping pattern,” he said underscoring various projects of the water resources ministry for conservation and management of the natural resources.

He said there was a need to thing about change in crop pattern and diversification of agriculture towards energy and power sector.

Noting that the country had surplus stocks of sugar, wheat and rice, the Minister pitched for focusing on

production of oil seeds and corn among other crops.

“We do not have godowns to store the surplus. And 70 per cent of edible oil is imported and per acre production in soya bean is not very good… we need to find out some innovative policies for crop patterns considering the global economy,” Gadkari added.

On the MSP, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured farmers of 1.5 times of the input cost. “But I feel it is a difficult task, but our government is much committed to it,” he said.

Gadkari along with Karnataka agriculture minister N H Shivashankar Reddy also took part in the 92nd birthday celebrations of agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, held on the sidelines of the seminar.

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