Agriculture sector project to grow by 3.9 per cent in 2021-22: Economic Survey

Agriculture and its allied sectors have been the least impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and is expected to grow by 3.9 per cent in 2021-22 after registering 3.6 per cent expansion in the previous year, according to the Economic Survey released on Monday.

“Increasing importance of allied sectors including animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries in growth and income of the farmers indicates that focus needs to shift more towards harnessing the potential of allied activities. There is also a need to improve the productivity of small and marginal farmers through development and implementation of small holding farm technologies,” said the annual survey report released ahead of the Union Budget.

It noted that crop diversification towards oilseeds, pulses and horticulture needs to be given priority by addressing the core issues of irrigation, investment, credit and markets in their cultivation.

In the Economic Survey tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament, it was indicated that research and development in agriculture and allied sectors can play a major role in realisation of sustainable agriculture practice that efficiently meets the objectives of nutritional security and improvement in farm income.

“Research shows that every rupee spent on agricultural Research and Development (R&D) yields better returns compared to returns on money spent on subsidies or other expenditures on inputs. The increase in agriculture R&D, therefore, may improve productivity in the crop and allied sectors,” the report noted.

The need to explore options and promote the use of alternative fertilisers, such as Nano Urea and organic fertiliser which protect the soil, are more productive and contribute to higher nutrient use efficiency were also highlighted in the survey.

“Focus should be on the use of new technology including drones and AI-based decision support systems, reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers and use of low-cost organic inputs and supporting start-ups for innovations,” the survey read. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Economic Survey 2021-22 along with Statistical Appendix in the Lok Sabha on the first day of the Budget session of Parliament.

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