India may impose import duty on wheat very soon
The decision on whether or not to impose import duty on wheat is under consideration of the Centre.
“The Ministry though has not proposed any increase in the duty, which is under process. The Ministry is though considering it but no decision has been taken,” said Shobhana K Pattanayak, secretary, Department of Agriculture, Co-operation and Farmers Welfare while speaking in an ASSOCHAM conference on ‘Integrated water resource management for increasing farmers income.’
He also said that Food Corporation of India (FCI) is going to procure wheat on a massive scale. “We have a target under FCI now, so prices are ruling above MSP and so far nothing has happened.”
He said that when people get access to water they immediately switch over to water-intensive crops which are not a very right practice. “We must try to economise the use in the sense that you can share it with others.”
Pattanayak said that the Government was paying special emphasis on watershed approach for agriculture. “For all these years our emphasis has been on irrigation projects and irrigated areas but what is the thrust area for dry land areas.”
He said that dryland areas necessarily had to adopt watershed approach and they should also be growing climate smart crops. “We should not to feel shy of not growing paddy or sugarcane as most of the land is dryland and it is more suitable for growing climate smart crops like millets and pulses.”
“Last year the pulse production was to the tune of 16.4 million tonnes but in one single year we have caught up by five million tonnes which has been made possible by farmers and host of beneficial factors - high prices raining in the market, MSP declared by the government, availability of seed and others,” said the top bureaucrat in the Agriculture Ministry.