New Delhi: India needs greater technological intervention to produce 350 million tonnes of foodgrains by 2020 to feed rising population, former President APJ Abdul Kalam said on Monday, while lauding Gujarat for achieving 9 percent farm growth against over 3 per cent at national level.
Speaking on the 84th foundation day of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) here, Kalam hailed the country achieving a record 250 million tonnes of foodgrains in 2011-12 due to hard work by farmers.
"But we will be requiring 350 million tonnes of foodgrains by 2020 to feed our rising population," Kalam said and asked agriculture scientists to play an important role in this regard.
Kalam stressed on the need to provide technological assistance to small and marginal land holders who constitute 50 percent of the agricultural workforce of the country, for accelerating farm growth.
The former President praised Gujarat for maintaining 9 per cent agriculture growth rate for the past seven years.
"The entire India has achieved only over 3 per cent growth rate in agriculture production. How Gujarat is able to attain 9 per cent growth rate?" Kalam said recalling the question he had posed to Centre for Management in Agriculture (CMA) that assisted the state in its agricultural policy.
Kalam said the agriculture turnaround story of Gujarat was "an eye opener for the entire nation".
Gujarat was impeded by factors like depletion of water table, deterioration of soil and water conditions due to salinity ingress, irregularity of rainfall and recurrent drought in early 2000.
Despite these adverse factor, Gujarat transformed itself to achieve 9 percent growth in agriculture and sustained it for the last seven years, he said at the function also attended by Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.