New Delhi -- Saturday June 3 2006
Free import & export of grain gaining ground
ASHOK B SHARMA ECONOMY BUREAU
NEW DELHI, JUNE 2: The government is considering the possibility of freely importing and exporting foodgrain depending upon the demand and supply situation in the country.
Food and agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar, inaugurating a national seminar on emerging issues in food management in the Capital on Friday, said, “In the context of food security in the country, a particular view that we need to freely import and export foodgrain depending on the demand and supply situation is fast gaining ground. While theoretically,this is a rational suggestion in a liberalised and open global economy, we should also assess whether there is enough availability of grains, namely wheat rice and pulses, for trade in the world market.”
The seminar was organised by the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP). However, the minister said in the world market,there was limited availability of rice and pulses. According to official estimates, India had a good harvest of 89.53 million tonne (mt) rice in 2005-06 and a good stock in the government pool.
Regarding two tenders floated for import of 3.5 mt wheat, Mr Pawar said the response had been much less than the expectation and that so far, contract for 1.3 mt wheat imports had been finalised.
He noted that surplus supplies of grains had been declining in the last 5 to 6 years and exports had reduced the per capita availability in the country. In case of wheat, though the average output per annum in 2001-06 remained around 70.5 mt, net exports were about 13.4 mt.
New Delhi -- Saturday June 3 2006
Pawar leaves for US to finalise agri pact
MUMBAI, JUNE 2: Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Friday left for Washington, hoping to finalise a strategic alliance with the US in agriculture that he felt would immensely benefit India’s farm sector.
Both countries have agreed to concentrate on education, learning resources, curriculum development and training, food processing and use of byproducts and bio-fuels, biotechnology and water management.
Mr Pawar, before leaving for the trip, told FE “The strategic alliance, in these areas, will contribute to enlightened human resources, enhanced income and employment, greater productivity, profitability, quality and better input use efficiency. The US and India, being leaders in different fields of science and technology, with experienced research and development (R&D) collaboration for agriculture, have tremendous scope to complement each others’ abilities, by forging a new strategic alliance.”
Sources said the proposed plan would be supported with an allocation of Rs 350 crore by the centre over a period of three years. The allocation from the US side is yet to be determined.
“The initiative is expected to offer a win-win situation for both countries and will trigger benefits in perpetuity,” sources said.According to sources, The India-US working group for capacity building in curriculum development, design and delivery will be formed by October this year. Under the industry-academia interface workshops, each year faculty and industry employees will be invited to devise strategies by which synergies can be induced to explore emerging trends and needs for agriculture sector in both countries.
India and the US will work together on post-harvest management and upgrading cold chain practices and operations. The US private sector, university experts and potential investors in cold chain development will visit India to meet counterparts, survey existing infrastructure and identify weaknesses and constraints. The three-phase activity will commence in late 2006 and carry on through 2007.