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The country's farm sector needs to be developed further in order to meet future demand of foodgrain, which some estimates show could reach 355 million tonnes by 2030, the government said today. A latest paper prepared by Grant Thornton and industry body Ficci has projected foodgrain demand to reach 355 million tonnes in next 13 years from the current 250 million tonnes. "Even though, we have been nearly sufficient on food production, we have to keep ourselves prepared for future need," Minister for State for Agriculture Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said addressing a three-day event on farm machination here. In view of rising foodgrain demand, there is a need to further develop the farm sector by plugging the existing gaps, he was quoted as saying in an official release. Talking about role of farm machinery in doubling farmers' income, the minister suggested commodity-specific farm equipment would help increase mechanisation. "Attempts should be to diversify the pattern of mechanisation in India.
Time has come to get the farm equipment industry into a loop and enter into meaningful discussions for spreading the culture of mechanisation in the rural areas," he said. Noting that lack of manpower is leading to shift to farm machineries, the minister stressed the need to provide farmers with all the tools to optimise the output on their farms considering the growing and limited arable land. The government is therefore promoting farm mechanisation by subsidising purchase of equipment through a scheme of Sub- Mission of Agricultural Mechanisation (SMAM) that promotes models of custom hiring as well, he added. The minister further mentioned that it is generally believed that the benefits of modern technology have been restricted to farmers with large land-holdings. Yet the fact remains that even small farmers are adopting and utilising selected farm equipment for efficient farm management through custom hiring, he added. Italian Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina, Ambassador of Italy to India Lorenzo Angeloni, Agriculture Secretary S K Pattanayak were also present at the event.
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