Sunday, July 11, 2010

India looks to Chinese rice hybrid to raise productivity

This report titled "India looks to Chinese rice hybrid to raise productivity" was published in The Financial Express on July 11 2010.

The agriculture ministry plans to replicate the Chinese model for hybrid rice production in the eastern states. The ministry has proposed a task force on promotion of hybrid rice and will push for private sector participation in the development of the hybrid variety.

A team led by minister of state for agriculture K V Thomas visited China in this regard. The team has submitted its report and a set of recommendations to the agriculture minister Sharad Pawar. While charting out ways to bring green revolution to the eastern region, Pawar has asked his ministry officials to look into the Chinese model and replicate that.

In India, rice productivity is 3.3 tonne per hectare. China’s productivity is almost double and is at 6.6 tonne per hectare. China has been able to produce 200 million tonne rice annually from 30 million hectare (ha) while India produces 150 million tonn rice from 45 million hectare.

The ministry has noticed that almost 63% of Chinese land under rice cultivation produces hybrid variety, compared with only 3% in India.

"A task force on promotion of hybrid rice should be created at the national level for more aggressive promotion,” Pawar said. The task force, to be headed by an additional secretary, will hold periodic meetings with the eastern states and work out a blueprint for increasing the area under hybrid rice.

The task force will devise strategies to create clusters of villages adopting hybrid rice so that procurement centres are opened to provide marketing support to farmers. “If proper guidance and support is given to the farmers along with proper price and storage facilities then the situation will change substantially in two-three years,” he said.

His ministry is also looking at possible public-private-partnership in areas like development of hybrid seeds. “There are almost 3,000 seed companies in China. A lot of seed companies have also come in India. We will only have to ensure that the quality of the seed is maintained. We are trying to encourage the private sector to venture through public-private-partnership model,” he said.

Need to boost production to achieve food security: FM

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday said that the government will enact a legislation to provide subsidised wheat and rice to poor, but to make it a success there is a need to boost production and strengthen delivery system.

"We are committed to ensure Food Security Act and to make successful, we need to produce more procure more and strengthen delivery mechanism for making accessible and affordable,” Mukherjee said. The UPA government has promised to enact a National Food Security Act, under which it promises to provide 25 kg of foodgrain every month at Rs 3 per kg to families below the poverty line. Mukherjee said there would be no dearth of funds for the sector.

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