MSP should satisfy farmers, assure them of profits: Sen

Prof Abhijit Sen

Prof Abhijit Sen, a member of the Planning Commission, on Monday said the special focus in the 12th Five Year Plan would be on "viability of small farms, reducing yield gaps and meeting demands of ever-increasing population".

"An addition of 40 million tonnes of food is a big achievement and India is proud of an institution like PAU," said Sen, who was the chief guest at the annual convocation of Punjab Agricultural University on Monday, praising PAU and Punjab for the success in making India a food bowl in the past five years.

Raising the issue of minimum support price (MSP), he said, "It is extremely important that MSP should satisfy farmers and assure them that their profits will not become unsustainable."

Commenting on the potential of nations like India and China in relation to the climate change, he said, "Since 1997, the signs of climate change have increased and temperature has gone up. In view of the rising population, the land area and the water available for agriculture will come down in near future, and India and China will turn into major importers of farm products and natural resources."

Expressing concern over the depleting underground water table in Punjab, the member of the Planning Commission said that farmers should now start looking at the options of livestock and horticulture as these two areas hold the key for future. "In future, we will move into the world of quality, perishability and marketing. Value addition is also essential in agriculture," he added.

On the declining labour force in agriculture, he said, "NREGA scheme was meant to improve the livelihood of the landless."

Sen conferred Dr Grucharan S Kalkat, former vice-chancellor of PAU and chairman, Punjab State Farmers' Commission, with the Degree of Doctor of Science (honoris causa). Former vice-chancellors of PAU were also honoured. As many as 392 students were awarded Doctorate and Master's degrees.

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