The demand for food grains in India is increasing by the day and the country needs to produce about 300 million tonnes yearly by 2025 to feed its population.
This was stated by Union minister for agriculture and farmers welfare Radha Mohan Singh at a function here.
Singh, who attended a meeting on 'Farm Mechanisation', said, "I am happy that this year we have achieved a record production of food grains. However, the demand for food grains is growing and it is estimated that by 2025 we need to produce more than 300 million tonnes of food grains."
As per the 2011 Census, 263 million people are engaged in the agriculture sector. This figure is likely to fall to 190 million by 2020, indicating the sector is likely to face a shortage of agricultural labourers during peak seasons like sowing and harvesting.
Singh said the shortage of labourers will have an adverse impact on the production.
"Thus we will have to fulfill the demand of energy for various agricultural operations through agricultural mechanization. Therefore agricultural mechanisation sector needs to grow faster," he said.
Mohan Singh said the main aim of this committee is to provide a forum for informal discussion between Members of Parliament on the one hand and ministers and senior officials of the government on the other.
Mohan Singh said that over the years there has been a shift towards the use of mechanical and electrical sources of power.
In 1960-61, about 92.30% farm power came from animals, in 2014-15 the contribution of animate sources of power reduced to about 9.46% and that of mechanical and electrical sources of power increased from 7.70% in 1960-61 to about 90.54% in 2014-15.
The minister said that with the continued shrinkage in the average farm size, more farms will fall into the "adverse category" and make individual ownership of agricultural machinery progressively more uneconomical.
He said that challenge would lie in ensuring the availability of adequate farm power for small farms. The other challenges, he said, are how to overcome the skills bottlenecks so that modern technology may be adequately supported.
He also addressed the Parliamentary Consultative Committee (PCC) meeting which was attended by over two dozen Parliamentarians.
The objective of the Committee was to provide a forum for informal discussion between Members of Parliament, Ministers and senior officers of concerned departments which provides an opportunity to Government to benefit from the advice and guidance of the Members of Parliament for framing the Policy and implementation of programmes and schemes for the benefit and welfare of farming community, said the Minister. He said concentrated efforts are being made for promotion of agricultural mechanization through implementation of various schemes in the country. The participants discussed threadbare the ways and means for framing new policies for the development and promotion of Agriculture sector in the country.
Singh said the agricultural mechanization sector needs to grow at faster rate to cater the needs. He said that more than Rs 3088 crore have been allocated to the State Governments for farm mechanization under various schemes during the last three year. During the current fiscal, the allocation for Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization (SMAM) has been increased to Rs 577 crore, he said.