India is facing shortcomings of delayed and deficient monsoon for last two years and untimely rains, hailstorms during the previous Rabi season. This adverse weather condition has affected acreage and production of major crops in some States during 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Despite decline in the pace of growth in agriculture sector due to loss of production and productivity of major crops on account of unfavourable rainfall and weather conditions in the said period, the decline in the production of rice and wheat in the country has not been significant. Further, there is sufficient stock of foodgrains under central pool to provides enough quantity for the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and other welfare schemes and also for making foodgrains available in open market at affordable prices. As on November 1, 2015 there was a stock of 112.92 lakh tonnes of rice as against the stocking norm of 102.50 lakh tonnes and 299.06 lakh tonnes of wheat as against the stocking norm of 205.20 lakh tonnes.
In order to incentivise the farmers to increase production of agriculture crops by ensuring remunerative prices for their produce, the Government of India announces the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) of major agricultural commodities including oilseeds every season. A regular mechanism for procurement of rice, wheat and coarse grains through Food Corporation of India (FCI) already exists.
Apart from that, during Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2015-16 the Government has also designated National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED), Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC), National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) and Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) as nodal agencies for procurement of pulses and oilseeds. Similarly, for rabi marketing season 2016-17 also, the FCI has been designated as the Central Nodal Agency for procurement of pulses and oilseeds.
Further, to discourage import of edible oils in the country, the Government has also raised custom duty on crude edible oils and refined edible oils from 7.5 percent and 15 percent to 12.5 percent and 20 percent respectively with effective from September 17, 2015.
In order to boost agricultural production to meet the demand of foodgrains and other crops, the Government is implementing, several crop development schemes such as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Food Security Mission (NFSM), National Mission on Oilseeds and Oil Palm (NMOOP), Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India (BGREI), National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) among others.
Under these schemes, funds are provided to States for implementation of State-specific agricultural strategies including incentives to farmers for use of quality seeds, Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), farm mechanisation, etc. The States are also provided support for creation of agricultural infrastructure for optimal use of water and other natural resources.
To achieve higher productivity of agricultural crops, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) is also conducting basic and strategic research relating to crop improvement, production and protection technologies suitable to different situations including development of location-specific varieties, hybrids and technologies.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundaria in Lok Sabha.