ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Agriculture : Thrust on New Crops

Thrust on New Crops The highlight of the agricultural diversification proposals outlined by finance minister Jaswant Singh is a thrust into horticulture, for which a new central scheme with an initial outlay of Rs 50 crore is to be launched. The hi-tech horticulture and precision-farming scheme will employ techniques such as fertigation and biotechnological tools as well as help optimise the use of natural resources. The aim is to maximise the contribution of the horticulture sector to the GDP as well as in food and nutritional security Much emphasis has been laid in recent years on the need for crop diversification. The Economic Survey, both this year and last, called for such a shift in order to reflect the changing dietary patterns of the Indian population. According to the 55th round of the NSS, in 1999-2000 expenditure on foodgrains as part of the total expenditure on food was 44 per cent for the rural population and 31.8 per cent for urban areas. This was a sharp decline from 63 per cent and 42 per cent, respectively, for the two groups recorded in the 27th round in 1972-73. Correspondingly, expenditure on fruits and vegetables has gone up by almost 50 per cent in both rural and urban areas in the same period. Horticulture has thus received a lot of attention, both as an alternative to the production of cereal crops and for remunerative incomes for the farming community by way of higher exports.

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