Govt to look into saffron smuggling: Pawar
ARJIMAND HUSSAIN TALIB
New Delhi, Oct 27: Asserting that the union government will look into the issue of smuggling of saffron from other countries into India, union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said that if India achieved 4 per cent growth in agriculture ‘most of the problems in the farming sector will be over.’
“Since this issue of saffron smuggling and imports without adequate duties has been raised, we will look into this serious matter”, Sharad Pawar said while replying to a question by Greater Kashmir at the Economic Editors’ Conference here on the government of India’s policy in allowing saffron imports and not checking its smuggling into the country.
Responding to the point raised by Greater Kashmir that the price slide of Kashmir saffron had seriously impacted the livelihood of thousands of farming families, B K Basu secretary department of Agriculture and Cooperation said that the Saffron Mission Project launched recently in
the state ‘will help in checking the imports and the smuggling.’
“We believe the Saffron Mission will help in improving productivity of saffron and the net area under its cultivation. That in turn will help to check the smuggling”, Basu added.
Asked if the union government needed to take some urgent steps beyond the Saffron Mission project to curb smuggling, Basu emphasized that “market forces will themselves take care of the problem once the Mission is fully implemented.”
“Kashmir’s saffron is not only a commodity but a heritage. It is the best saffron in the world, and we accord high priority to its growth and progress”, he added.
In reply to another question from Greater Kashmir if the Planning Commission’s observation that expecting growth in agriculture sector beyond 4 per cent was unrealistic meant government of India had given up ambitious targets in agriculture growth, the Agriculture Minister replied, “I believe a 4 per cent growth would mean an end to all the problems in agriculture sector. It is an ambitious target in itself.”
Earlier during his inaugural address, Sharad Pawar said that India had achieved “record food production of 234 million tons in 2008-09; a substantial jump from the production of about 198 million tons of food grains in 2004-05.”
“This year, overall rainfall has been good and we are estimating record production in Kharif pulses, sugarcane and cotton. However, due to deficit rainfall in Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of West Bengal there is likelihood of some loss in paddy area”, he added.
He also said that the plan outlay for the agriculture and allied sector has increased substantially from Rs.7, 431crore in 2006-07 to Rs.19, 070 crore in 2010-11, an increase of about 156 per cent.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Oct 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Oct 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Oct 2010 00:00:00 IST
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