Govt working on plan to boost oilseeds production: Chand

After achieving self-sufficiency in pulses production, the government is drafting strategy to increase the country's oilseeds output, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand said today.

Chand also pitched for enhanced participation of corporate sector in agriculture, right from input delivery to post harvest stage.

"Oilseed (production) is a major concern, how we improve our self-sufficiency. Our import level of oilseed has crossed 65 per cent of our domestic demand. So, we are discussing.

"Can we do something to increase the self-sufficiency in oilseed(production)? We had meetings with different states (in this regard)," he told PTI in an interview.

The government also wants to increase competitiveness of livestock sectors, the Niti Aayog member added.

Total oilseeds production in the country during 2017-18 crop year (July-June) is estimated to have declined marginally to 30.64 million tonnes against 31.28 million tonnes in 2016-17, according to the agriculture ministry's third advanced estimates released in May.

Citing example of the government's success in increasing pulses production, Chand pointed out that now India is producing 24 million tonnes pulses that is the country's current requirement.

He also expressed concerns over the fact that the country is not getting best technology to improve oilseeds production.

"Yields are either stagnant in some cases or has slightly declined like in case of Soybean.

"In last few years, in pulses, we have done very well. But, as I mentioned, oilseed segment is (the) one where we have not been able to do well," Chand pointed out.

Replying to a question, whether the Aayog is in approval of corporate farming, he said the think tank never spoke in favour of such farming.

"What we have been saying is that corporate sector needs to enhance its participation in agriculture sector.That does not mean that they take over lands of farmers," he said.

Elaborating further, Chand said that there are two-three ways to do it.

"Contract farming... is done by farmers but he has an arrangement with corporates for delivery, finance and purchase of final output at assured prices.

"...I certainly support enhanced participation of corporates, right from input delivery to post harvest stage," he added.


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